One minute Melanie Hoffman was enjoying her 23rd week of pregnancy, and the next she was in preterm labor. Joshua Hoffman, of Weston, Florida, came into the world on Januay 12, 2003, weighing only 1 pound, 11 ounces. "Birth is supposed to be a joyous time, but for us it was ominous tubes, wires, monitors and needles," Melanie recalls.
Joshua fought hard for survival during his 14 weeks in newborn intensive care, where he received treatment for serious breathing, heart and vision problems. Even after he left the hospital, he faced the challenges of eye surgery and worked hard to walk and talk.
Today, Joshua is an active 7 year old. Not even partial blindness can keep him from doing what he loves most: reading, building castles with his brother, swimming and playing basketball. "The March of Dimes saved my life, and now I want to fight for preemies and reach for the stars," says Joshua. In 2004, his brother, Alex, was born nearly full term and healthy, thanks in part to information provided by the March of Dimes.
As the 2010 National Ambassador, Joshua and his family are traveling the country to share his inspiring story, help raise awareness of premature birth and encourage families and companies to walk with them in March for Babies.
Follow Joshua on his travels at Joshfightsforpreemies.com.