Nurse to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro on World Prematurity Day

Honoring 15 Million Babies Born Preterm around the World

Providence, Rhode Island | Friday, October 30, 2015

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Brenda Kieran, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse from Providence, Rhode Island, plans to climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, the tallest mountain in Africa, on Nov. 17, World Prematurity Day, to honor babies born premature and benefit the March of Dimes.

“My goddaughter, Elizabeth was born preterm and was my inspiration to become a NICU nurse,” says Brenda. “I knew my life had changed forever once I visited her in the hospital. No one expects to have a premature baby. I’m also inspired by my highly skilled medical colleagues who care for babies in the NICU around the clock and by the efforts of the March of Dimes to find new ways to prevent and treat premature babies. ”

The United States preterm birth rate ranks among the worst of high-resource countries, the March of Dimes says. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and nearly one million die due to early birth or its complications. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.

Brenda has worked at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence for the past ten years. A nurse colleague, Kathy Baker, will join her on the climb. They leave for Africa on November 9 from Boston’s Logan Airport and expect to begin the ascent on November 12. Brenda has raised $5,000 already to support March of Dimes research to prevent premature birth, but hopes to raise more. You can make a donation to her March of Dimes page.

The March of Dimes leads the World Prematurity Network (WPN), a global coalition of consumer and parent groups working together to raise awareness and prevent premature birth in their countries. Through World Prematurity Day and other joint efforts, members call for action to prevent preterm birth and improve care for babies born too soon. Nearly 100 countries participated in World Prematurity Day 2014 with building and landmark lightings, outdoor events, petitions, and other demonstrations of support.

Providence, Rhode Island - Brenda Kieran, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse, trains for her climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to benefit the March of Dimes. Brenda says she was inspired by her goddaughter, Elizabeth, born preterm, and March of Dimes efforts to prevent preterm birth. November is Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17 is World Prematurity Day. The March of Dimes is investing in a nationwide network of five cutting-edge, team-based research centers seeking to find the unknown causes of preterm birth. Visit marchofdimes.org.

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