Monday, April 29, 2002
6,500 walk on behalf of babies
March of Dimes fund-raiser one of several in region
By Cindy Kranz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Gary and Susan Frazier walked in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2002 on Sunday, hoping they can help others prevent the shock they endured.
When their 5-year-old son, Russell, was born at 24 weeks, he weighed 14 oz. and measured 10 1/2 inches an inch shorter than a Barbie doll.
The Wilmington couple received moral support from the Family Care Network, an organization of parents who have had children in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Knowing somebody who had gone through it was a tremendous support to me, said Mrs. Frazier, 35. The week after I had him I was seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. It was nice to have encouragement that it will get better.
The Fraziers joined the Family Care Network a year after Russell was born.
The couple, with Russell in tow, were at the starting line with the network on Sunday morning at Sawyer Point. It was their third WalkAmerica.
A night of severe thunderstorms worried organizers, but skies cleared and 6,500 walkers stepped off for the six-mile walk to the sounds of Katrina and the Waves' Walking on Sunshine.
An estimated $600,000 will be raised by five regional walks this month: Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Clermont County, Butler/Warren County, Northern Kentucky and Scioto County.
Dubbed the walk that saves babies, money raised will be used for research on the causes of pre-term labor, educating pregnant women on signs of pre-term labor and helping health-care providers find better ways to identify women at risk.
Mrs. Frazier had a major complication of severe preeclampsia, called HELPP syndrome, which triggered Russell's premature birth.
Russell was on a respirator for almost two months at Good Samaritan Hospital.
It was just so overwhelming, said Mr. Frazier, 47. First, it was a matter of life and death. Then, it was a matter of wait and see. Then it was a long time waiting for him to gain weight.
Ninety-five days after Russell was born, he was discharged at 3 lbs., 10 oz.
Russell, who has been diagnosed with mild autism, is in preschool at Town & Country MRDD in Clinton County.
He does well in preschool, his father said. He likes to jump on a trampoline. He loves to swim. He's a regular little boy.
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