You Can Fight the Number One Killer of Babies in the US

The March of Dimes 2017 National Ambassador, 14-year-old Ismael Torres-Castrodad, and his mom, Isamari Castrodad, are asking everyone to support the March of Dimes and March for Babies this spring. Ismael and his mom are bringing awareness to the serious problem of preterm birth and the March of Dimes’ mission to improve the health of babies. They sat down with EverydayFamily.com's Natalie Sudia to give her more information. See the full interview here.

Premature birth is the number one killer of babies in the United States. Nearly 380,000 babies (or 1 in 10 babies) are born too soon each year in America. Ismael himself was born five weeks early. But despite (and, really, because of!) his premature birth, he is the first child from Puerto Rico to be named to the ambassador position in the history of the March of Dimes.

When asked about being a March of Dimes ambassador, Ismael said, “It’s a great honor. I was born premature, so this cause is near and dear to my heart. I’m glad to be able to pay it back to March of Dimes for all they’ve done for me. As an ambassador family, we are talking about our experience and how people can get involved with the March of Dimes and give every baby a fighting chance.”

Like so many other mothers of preemies, Isamari did everything she could to have a healthy, full-term baby. But Ismael still was born too soon. In fact, about half of all premature births have no known cause. Isamari said, “I was so healthy. I didn’t expect anything to go wrong with my pregnancy.” She urges all parents, especially expecting mothers, to get involved and get information.

When she found out there were complications with her pregnancy, Isamari was scared. But she was also proactive. “I went to the web. I found March of Dimes and I got a lot of information. Then I went to my doctors and asked a lot of questions. They were so impressed that I was prepared. I think that being helped by March of Dimes empowered me and gave me the tools and confidence to help to save my baby’s life.”

Ismael added, “When I was born I was fighting with jaundice and RSV. But I’m really proud of my parents. They were proactive during the whole process. And thanks to them and the March of Dimes, I’m here and I’m healthy right now.”

When it comes right down to it, lots of things can happen during pregnancy. Isamari reminded us, “You are in charge of your body, nobody knows you better than you!” 

{ MORE: Air Pollution Could Cause Premature Birth }

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Ismael explained some of his National Ambassador duties, saying, “This year we’ve been traveling all around the country and meeting the wonderful volunteers that make this happen. It’s been great seeing all these people supporting this cause.” And since Ismael and Isamari are from Puerto Rico, this is the first year the program has been bi-lingual. “It’s been a great year reaching out to the Hispanic community.”

March for Babies is the March of Dimes signature fundraiser. It helps families with sick or premature babies in Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU) and supports groundbreaking research to help more babies get a healthy start in life. To get involved with March for Babies, click here. Find an event near you. Meet other volunteers, like Ismael and Isamari, and hear their stories. You can donate online or you can visit their national partners, K-Mart and Famous Footwear, and donate in-store.

Go to March of Dimes for more information on prematurity or to get involved. You can find your local March of Dimes chapter, and they can help you get more information and spread the message. March of Dimes is continually researching premature birth, and every year they award a March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. 

{ MORE: 5 Fall-Themed Ways to Announce that You're Pregnant }

Be proactive and let’s give every baby a fighting chance!

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You Can Fight the Number One Killer of Babies in the US

I've lived all over the place! I was born in Hawaii, grew up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, enjoyed some time in the cities of the Bay Area, and even spent a few years in Arizona. These days I am living in beautiful Colorado and loving it. I live with my husband, baby boy, my mom, and our 5 pets (3 cats, 2 dogs). There's a lot of love in our little condo! A few of my favorite things include: Pretty dresses (especially ones I can wear while breastfeeding/pumping these days.) Tea parties wi ... More

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