On Saturday, April 28 our community will be walking in March for Babies to give hope to the families of babies born too soon or sick -- more than 7,200 each year in Minnesota alone.
The money we raise will support March of Dimes research and programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies right here in Southeastern Minnesota.
Registration for March for Babies at Eagles Club is at 8:00 am. The walk starts at 9:00 am. See you there!
Brian and Jessica Saari walk in the Faribault March for Babies in honor of their daughter Maeli, born too soon and sick. A pregnancy complication forced Jessica to give birth 10 weeks early. Maeli weighed two pounds, six ounces. The newborn intensive care unit (NICU) would be her home for the next three and a half weeks.
“You really have to go through it to understand,” said Jessica. “Your whole world stops. The outside world no longer matters. All that matters is your baby and you spend as many hours as possible next to her.”
March of Dimes touched Maeli’s life on several fronts. First, March of Dimes led the drive to put NICUs in reach of every baby. Second, March of Dimes is working to find out what causes premature birth and how it can be stopped. But the most important way the March of Dimes has helped Maeli was a condition discovered through Newborn Screening. Because of March of Dimes advocacy efforts all U.S. states routinely screens newborns for certain genetic, metabolic, hormonal and functional disorders. Most of these birth defects have no immediate visible effects on a baby. However, unless detected and treated early, these disorders can cause physical problems, intellectual disability and, in some cases, death.
Newborn Screening tests showed Maeli has congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a disorder in which there is a deficiency of certain hormones. Maeli will be on medication the rest of her life. Her disorder along with premature birth have been hard on her.
“Some preemies catch up quickly and are able to put the past behind them. Not ours. It may affect Maeli for the rest of her life,” said Jessica. Despite her health challenges, Jessica and Brian describe their one-year-old daughter as the happiest baby they’ve ever seen. She is full of sunshine. “It’s important to raise awareness about prematurity. It can happen to anyone,” said Jessica.
“Join the March for Babies to raise awareness and raise money to help babies.”