Organization Honors Sommer Vivienne Young and All Families on August 24
Arlington, VA, August 15, 2023 – As new data from March of Dimes shows it’s getting more dangerous to be pregnant and give birth in the U.S., the organization today said that maternal and infant health remains at a crisis level and addressing it requires greater public awareness, support, and action. To improve the health of moms and babies, March of Dimes is rallying the public to support lifesaving initiatives by taking part in the organization’s fourth annual Giving Day on August 24.
This year’s campaign honors Sommer Vivienne Young, whose life was tragically cut short due to complications shortly after her birth on August 25, 2022. Erika Nolting Young went to the hospital for a scheduled induction when her due date passed. Sommer’s heart rate, movement, and ultrasound all checked out fine, as did mom. In the final moments of labor, there was a sudden, large decline in Sommer’s heartbeat and Erika and her husband Kris Young both knew something was very wrong. Sommer’s condition worsened, and she lived for only an hour and fifty minutes.
“This was a tragic loss for us,” Erika and Kris said. “We want nothing more than to help Sommer make an impact for other families to have a happier ending.”
The hospital and doctors who reviewed Sommer’s case are still uncertain whether a possible lack of oxygen may have started in the second stage of labor or if a sudden, catastrophic, unexplainable event occurred as Erika pushed her out. “This is part of why we’re so committed to the March of Dimes Innovation Fund,” Erika said. “We want to bring more and better technologies to pregnancy and delivery for doctors to have more information and so that other families don't have to live without answers when things go awry.”
March of Dimes is leading the charge for healthy birth outcomes through collaboration, expertise, and capital with its Innovation Fund, taking an innovative approach to investment, embracing cutting-edge commercial ventures, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and new technologies. Since launching last September, the March of Dimes Innovation Fund has made key investments in Iron Health, Raydiant Oximetry, and PyrAmes. The Young’s have made a generous donation to the Innovation Fund to advance critical maternal and health research and honor Sommer’s legacy.
“While Sommer won’t get a chance to live out the aspirations her parents had for her life, we’re grateful to Erika and Kris for helping us impact lives and generate a wave of change for countless families across our country,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “Our mission to eradicate preventable maternal and infant health risks, to end the tragedy of needless deaths, and to address health equity in this country is far from over. Let's continue to make a difference, to touch lives, and to instill hope on August 24.”
Today in the U.S., an average of 2 women die every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth and 2 babies die every hour, making the U.S. among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth. March of Dimes Giving Day, on August 24, aims to support every family throughout their pregnancy journey and raise critical funds to help the organization ensure moms and babies get the best possible start. Every dollar donated on this special day directly supports the organization’s lifesaving research, education, advocacy, and programs and services on behalf of moms and babies. To support March of Dimes Giving Day and make a donation, please visit marchofdimes.org.
Other ways to get involved:
- Raise awareness by sharing resources and education on the maternal and infant health crisis through your social media platforms using the hashtags #MODGivingDay, #MarchofDimes and #85YearsofImpact.
- Advocate by calling on leaders in your community and at the federal level to implement new policies that put the health of moms and babies at the forefront. Sign up today at marchofdimes.org/advocate.
- Activate by considering a partnership with March of Dimes through sponsorship, or activation on the ground, to bring greater awareness and resources to the issue. Visit marchofdimes.org/partner to learn more.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs, and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 85-year legacy, we support every pregnant person and every family. To learn more about March of Dimes, please visit marchofdimes.org.