March for Babies 2015 California Ambassadors

San Francisco, California | Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Media Contacts

save print


Charley Hope Elliott was born to Chuck and Amber on January 31, 2013.

After being on bedrest for almost a month she gave birth to a 1 pound 5 ounce, 10 ½ inches long, 23 week old baby girl. It was a day that Charley’s family, friends, and the staff at San Joaquin Hospital will not soon forget. After 97 days in the hospital, Chuck and Amber could finally take their little girl home. 

The Elliotts have since walked in two March for Babies events and ask you to join them in supporting March for Babies. Your support allows March of Dimes to fund vital research, education, and outreach programs that benefit babies like Charley and all babies in California.

Bay Area

Naya Jane Manalo was born in July, 2011 at 7 lbs and was seemingly healthy. Her parents fell in love immediately. Naya’s parents took her home the day after she was born, but soon returned to the hospital. Naya was born with a bowel obstruction.The obstruction caused an infection and she went into septic shock. She was transported to a level 4 NICU, where she spent more than 7 weeks on life support.

Naya passed away in her parents’ arms in September. After Naya died, her parents teamed up with the March of Dimes as a way to honor her short life. They believe that the March of Dimes has the passion and tools to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family and they are proud to serve as the 2015 Ambassadors in honor of Naya.


Twins Elliot and Oliver Rhine were born at 27 weeks gestation weighing 2 lbs 5 oz and 2 lbs 4.5 oz. They spent 10 weeks in the NICU.

Thanks to advances in medicine, research, and funding provided by the March of Dimes, along with the unlimited love and care provided by their mother and father, they are now happy, healthy 2-year-olds.

The Rhines are thankful every day for their wonderful little boys and every moment that they have together.

High Desert

Just 21 weeks into her pregnancy, Jennifer Moen went into preterm labor and at 22 weeks, baby Hailey was born very preterm and passed away in her mother’s arms shortly after birth.

Although the Moen family continue to mourn the loss of baby Hailey, they have experienced the great joy of welcoming two healthy sons into their family, George and Nathan. The family welcomed

a third son, Noah, in January.

Jennifer notes that through their continued research to find solutions for prematurity, the March of Dimes is working for the day when babies such as Hailey both survive and thrive. The Moens are proud to serve as Ambassadors for the 2015 March for Babies.

Inland Empire

Kinley was delivered at 26 weeks via c-section, weighing only 1 lb. 9 oz. She was delivered early because her mom, Katy developed HELLP syndrome. A condition that is believed to be a severe variant of preeclampsia. Kinley was born with no complications, other than being small.

Kinley was delivered while her mom was under anesthesia. Her mom would spend the next 8 days in the hospital, seeing her baby for the first time on the sixth day.

Kinley would spend the next 72 days in the NICU. On January 17, 2014, Kinley came home weighing 5 lbs. 4.7 oz. Her parents say that they were graced with a miracle and she is no doubt the strongest member of the Swift family.

Los Angeles

The Washington family understands the importance of March for Babies.

Roman was born at 27 weeks gestation and weighed only 1 lb., 10 oz. Roman spent 145 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), during which time he endured many challenges, including infection and surgery to insert a feeding tube.

Thanks to research funded by March of Dimes, Roman is now a happy, healthy 4-year-old

who continues to thrive more every day.

Modesto and Stockton

Todd and Shawn Cannon were thrilled to find out that they were expecting another baby! After experiencing the loss of their second pregnancy at 21 weeks, they were excited but also very cautious. Baby Maxwell was expected to be born on April 7, 2013. On New Year’s Day, Shawn went into preterm labor and Maxwell was born on January 5, weighing 2 lbs 7 ozs. He spent 71 days in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and came home weighing a little over 5 lbs.

The Cannons attended their first March for Babies in 2014. Shawn was on Doctors Medical Center’s team and raised $1,050 individually.

Todd and Shawn are so grateful for the amazing work done by the March of Dimes to help every baby get a healthy start.

Orange County

Ryan Banda was born at 23 weeks gestation, weighing only 1lb 5 oz. His 153 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) included six surgeries and what seemed like an endless roller coaster of machines beeping, emotions and uncertainty for Ryan’s parents Elaina and Martin. They never imagined that they would have to watch their baby fighting to stay alive.

Ryan battles the effects of cerebral palsy and other complications of premature birthÑbut overall he is a happy and healthy 4-year-old who laughs, sings and smiles.

Supporting March for Babies allows March of Dimes to fund vital research, education and outreach programs that benefit all babies in California.


George and Tiffany Dozzie and their sons George III and Jaden, are honored to serve as the 2015 Greater Capital Ambassador Family. At 30 weeks, Tiffany was admitted to the hospital for bedrest, but George III was born 10 weeks early, weighing only 3 pounds 6 ounces. He spent 6 weeks in the NICU fighting to become healthy enough to go home.

When Tiffany became pregnant with Jaden, hers was deemed a high-risk pregnancy. On a routine office visit doctors couldn’t get Tiffany’s blood pressure under control, she underwent an emergency cesarean section and Jaden came into the world at 29 weeks at 3 pounds 7 ounces. Jaden spent 8 weeks in the NICU, fighting for his life, as Tiffany battled against the after-effects of her condition. It was a scary, unpredictable time for the Dozzies.

Today, George III, Jaden and Tiffany are doing well. Due to the premature birth of their sons, the Dozzies

understand the importance of supporting the vital work of the March of Dimes so that all babies can get

a healthy start in life.

San Diego

In 2011 the Rethwisch Family was preparing to become first time parents. By Jennifer’s 29th week of pregnancy, it appeared that the amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects the baby was critically low. As a result, she was admitted into the hospital on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. At 34 weeks, Lydia was born weighing 4 lbs 9 ounces and was brought to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she was intubated and placed on a ventilator to breathe.

As a result of being born premature, Lydia lives with cerebral palsy. She works hard every day to catch up physically and developmentally. Today, Lydia is a sweet and happy little girl and has her very own March for Babies Team, Team Lydia Rose.

South Bay

Parijat and Sonil were excited to become parents; unfortunately, they lost their first baby during pregnancy. In May 2012, they completed a successful in vitro fertilization transfer but experienced several complications. At 24 weeks and 5 days, despite all interventions, Vihaan was born. He weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces. His care in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) was a direct result of the work of March of Dimes. He stayed in the hospital for 109 days. Through it all, Vihaan showed strength and a will to survive. Vihaan came home, after zero surgeries, the day after his due date. Due to March of Dimes, Vihaan is now a talkative, vibrant little boy!

Ventura County

Jayden was born at 23 weeks, 6 days gestation. He was given a slim chance for survival. Thanks to research and advances funded by March of Dimes, including surfactant therapy to help his underdeveloped lungs expand, he took that slim chance and succeeded.

After 91 days with his amazing NICU team, Jayden came home to his family 3 weeks before his due date. He is now a healthy 2-year-old and is going to preschool.



Ian Rodriguez was born at just 30 weeks gestational age. He weighed only 2 pounds, 14 ounces and spent his first eight weeks in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

While Ian was in the hospital, his parents, Priscilla and Bryan, learned about the lifesaving work of the March of Dimes, including their role in regionalizing NICUs and funding research into lifesaving drugs and treatments. One such treatment, surfactant therapy, helps babies with underdeveloped lungs breath.

Without the work of March of Dimes, Ian probably would have lived only days instead of being the growing 7 month old he is today. Ian has chronic lung disease, a result of his premature birth, and will continue to get preventative care.

Your support of March for Babies allows March of Dimes to fund vital research, education, and outreach programs that benefit all babies in California.

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.

Visit or for more information. Visit for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.