New Canaan Family Named March of Dimes Stamford Ambassadors
| Thursday, February 11, 2016
Leigh-Anne Lefurge, March of Dimes, (860) 815-9353, [email protected]
Family to speak at March for Babies at Cove Island Park on Saturday, April 23
Stamford, CT, February 11, 2016 —
On Saturday, April 23, hundreds from Stamford and its surrounding communities will gather for March for Babies at its new location at Cove Island Park to benefit the March of Dimes. Leading the festivities will be the event’s 2016 Ambassadors, Lorrie and Roman Ozimek of New Canaan, along with their children, Lauren, 15, Elizabeth, 12, Andrew, 10 and Ryan, 5. They will share their family’s prematurity journey, thank walkers for their commitment to the March of Dimes mission to give all babies a healthy start, and lead the walk with their team, “Team Ryan the Miracle.”
In October 2010, Lorrie and Roman were looking forward to the late January birth of their fourth child. But when Lorrie’s hypertension (blood pressure) could no longer be controlled, a decision was made to deliver for the health of both mom and baby. On Halloween, at just 28 weeks (12 weeks too soon), Ryan was born at Greenwich Hospital weighing 2 lbs. 7 oz.
“Scary, traumatic, stressful – those are just some of the words we would use to explain the experience of Ryan’s early birth,“ said Lorrie. “I also felt guilty because I felt my body had failed me and Ryan.”
Like many premature babies, Ryan’s lungs were underdeveloped and he received surfactant to help mature his tiny lungs. Babies with underdeveloped lungs may develop respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and struggle to breathe because their immature lungs do not produce enough surfactant, a protein that keeps small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. March of Dimes grantees helped develop surfactant therapy, which was introduced in 1990. Since then, deaths from RDS have been reduced by half. Ryan remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for 53 days before coming home just before Christmas.
Today Ryan is five years old and healthy. “He loves to play with his siblings and always has a great joke to tell. He’s happy, very active, and always brings a smile to the faces of others,” said Lorrie. “He loves to play soccer, baseball, football, video games, and enjoys swimming and making jewelry for me.”
Each year in Connecticut, more than 36,000 babies are born. 1 in 10 babies are born too soon, 1 in 7 infant deaths is attributed to a birth defect, and nearly 200 babies die before reaching their first birthday. The mission of the March of Dimes is to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality through research, education, advocacy and community programs.
March for Babies participants can meet Ryan and hear their story at March for Babies at Cove Island Park in Stamford on Saturday, April 23. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with the walk kicking off at 10:30 a.m. To register visit marchforbabies.org/event/stamford or marchofdimes.org/ct.
“We feel honored to support such a wonderful organization that does so much to improve the health and lives of babies and their mothers through amazing research and programs. It’s also a way to share Ryan’s story in an effort to provide hope and comfort to other families with babies born too soon,” said Lorrie.
Stamford March for Babies is sponsored by News12CT and Connecticut Parent Magazine.
For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefitted from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. The 2016 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter, Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macy’s, Cigna, United Airlines and Mission Pharmacal.
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.