From Polio To Prematurity: A Family Benefits From March of Dimes Research
6-Year-Old Born 11 Weeks Too Soon Named March of Dimes 2014 National Ambassador
White Plains, New York | Friday, January 24, 2014
A New Hampshire family that benefitted from the March of Dimes 75-year legacy of success, now is helping it achieve its goal of giving more babies a healthy start in life by preventing preterm birth.
Six-year-old Aidan Lamothe, who was born more than 11 weeks too soon, has been named the 2014 March of Dimes National Ambassador. Aidan and his parents, Jill Teeters, a marketing coordinator, and David Lamothe, a civil engineer, will travel the country, compliments of United Airlines, to raise awareness of the need for research and community programs to prevent premature birth and birth defects.
Since 2008, the Lamothe family has participated in March for Babies© as a way to give thanks for Aidan’s good health. March for Babies, is the March of Dimes biggest fundraiser that supports educational, community-based programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies and provides vital funding for research to understand the problem of preterm birth.
Long before Aidan was born, his parents knew of the March of Dimes and its original mission to combat polio. David’s uncle had polio as a child and has been in a wheelchair for most of his life. Jill’s father was a “polio pioneer” -- one of the first children to receive the Salk polio vaccine in 1955. The March of Dimes funded the development of the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines. Nearly all babies born today are vaccinated against polio, resulting in the elimination of the disease in the United States and most of the world.
“We’ve seen first-hand the devastating effects of polio; we know the importance of prevention and we know the March of Dimes history of success,” said Jill Teeters. “We also know the impact of preterm birth and are thrilled to support the work the March of Dimes is doing today to help women have full term pregnancies and healthy babies.”
The first 28 weeks of Jill Teeters’ pregnancy was uneventful. But she felt unwell shortly thereafter and was hospitalized as a precaution. Less than 24 hours later, Jill went into labor and required an emergency C-section. Aidan David Lamothe was born at 28 weeks and five days of pregnancy. He weighed three pounds and was only 16 inches long. He was rushed to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where he spent the first seven weeks of his life being treated for breathing problems, his low birthweight, and other prematurity-related issues.
Today, Aidan is a happy, energetic, engaged and loving six-year-old. He enjoys being outdoors, playing baseball, practicing the piano, and doing gymnastics and he loves Legos. Each year on his birthday, Aidan visits the NICU and says “thank you” to the doctors and nurses.
“Aidan would not be where he is today without the knowledge, equipment and treatments available as a result of research supported by the March of Dimes March for Babies,” said David Lamothe, Aidan’s father. “Volunteering for the March of Dimes has allowed us to give back on behalf of Aidan healthy start and has opened our eyes to the breadth of health issues facing parents and their newborn children.”
Most March for Babies events take place in communities nationwide April 26 and 27.
The March of Dimes National Ambassador Program is an annual campaign, started in 1946, that puts a face on the March of Dimes mission. United Airlines will continue to serve as the official airline sponsor of the March of Dimes National Ambassador Program for the 9th consecutive year.
“At United, so many of our customers and employees’ lives have been touched by the March of Dimes, and we are proud to continue our longstanding partnership,” said John Rainey, executive vice president and chief financial officer at United and a member of the national board of trustees for the March of Dimes. “We’re honored to fly Aidan around the country to share his inspirational story, and we look forward to supporting the Lamothe family as they help ensure more babies get a healthy start in life.”
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 baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.