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Gratitude for World Prematurity Day

world prematurity day videoI know that preterm birth can and does affect women of every race, ethnicity, religion, color, age, socioeconomic status and demographic. But until recently, I really only thought of prematurity as it pertains to the 500,000 plus births that occur in the U.S. each year. After previewing the March of Dimes World Prematurity Video presented at the Preemie Parent Alliance Summit in Chicago in September, I now see it in global terms. Each year, more than 15 million babies are born preterm around the world. While the parents in the video hailed from rich and poor countries all over the world, it was clear to me that the emotional pain of preterm birth is the same for us all. (Note: Some of the images in the video may be disturbing. I share it with you because I think it is important for us all to do our part to raise awareness of preterm birth across the globe and work to ensure the best outcomes for all babies.)

In May of this year, the first-ever national, regional and global estimates of preterm births were presented in Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. This inspiring report is a joint effort of almost 50 international, regional and national organizations in support of the Every Woman Every Child initiative, led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Born Too Soon shows the extent to which preterm birth is on the rise in most countries, and is now the second leading cause of death globally for children under five, after pneumonia. It is believed that over 75% of the 1.1 million deaths due to preterm complications could be prevented if policy, programs and research proposed in the report are implemented around the world.

Upcoming Global Teleconference
The March of Dimes invites parents of preemies to participate in a global teleconference -- Honoring Parent Stories for World Prematurity Awareness -- on November 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm Eastern. The global teleconference will feature March of Dimes National Ambassador Shalini Wittstruck and other parents from around the world. Please RSVP to alliances@marchofdimes.com by November 11 to receive the toll-free U.S. number and code along with the presentation.

Celebrating All Our Preemie Power Heroes
In celebration of World Prematurity Day, Hand to Hold will announce the winners of the 2012 Preemie Power Photo and Essay Contest on Saturday, November 17. This year’s contest features 187 photos of preemie and NICU babies of all ages representing 46 states and 5 Canadian provinces. To read their inspirational stories, visit www.preemiepower.org and see this year's finalists!

May we all find time this month to give thanks for the medical advances afforded to babies born preterm in the U.S., mourn the loss of those who lost their battle despite these advances and do our part to increase awareness of the global epidemic of preterm birth.

With Appreciation,

Kelli Kelley Signature 
Kelli D. Kelley
Founder and Executive Director

More Good Stuff

Dave Alter and daughter Jada at the 2012 Austin MarathonJoin Hand to Hold's Team Preemie Posse

If you enjoy running, getting fit and connecting with a cause close to your heart, we invite you to join Hand to Hold's Team Preemie Posse by running in the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon, Half Marathon on February 17, 2013. We are also recruiting volunteers to staff our waterstop along the race course.  

Raising his hand, Photo Courtesy Nett FamilyWhat Does It All Mean? Why Do We Track Milestones Anyway? 

Family Support Navigator Erika Goyer explains a new way of looking at milestones that celebrates what your child can do as they follow their own unique developmental path.

O'Brien SiblingsPreparing Children for a Sibling's NICU Stay

Child psychologist and preemie parent, Dr. Dina O'Brien, shares useful suggestions on preparing children for a sibling's NICU stay. She used many of these tips with her own children when her youngest son was admitted to the NICU.

Dr. Jason FullmerWhat Does a Pediatric Pulmonologist Do?

Pediatric pulmonologist Jason Fullmer, MD, FAAP, FCCP, explains the role of the pediatric pulmonologist and how they help treat and manage respiratory illnesses and conditions in the NICU and beyond.

What's Hot on the Blog, PreemieBabies101

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Rachel Pasquale shares about the challenges of bonding with a premature infant who is too sick to hold and the moment she was able to hold her skin-to-skin for the first time.

{Friday Feature} Keeping My Baby Safe from RSV

Guest blogger Deb Discenza describes her experience with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and why she has created a petition to help make a lifesaving medication Synagis® available for more preemies.

Neonatal Loss

Franchesca Cox shares the touching story of the loss of her daughter and how a new life brought her healing, peace and renewed love for life.

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Nov 2 - Preemie Power Photo/Contest voting closes & the finalists are announced while celebrity judges choose winners! 

Nov 12 - Global Teleconference: Honoring Parent Stories for World Prematurity Awareness, 3pm ET, March of Dimes

Nov 17 - World Prematurity Day & Preemie Power Winners Announced. 

See more upcoming events and where we've been making connections.

Volunteer Opportunities

Helping Hand Peer Mentor - Volunteer to support a fellow NICU family no matter where you live.

Volunteer to provide NICU respite at the Ronald McDonald Room at St. David's North Austin Medical Center or at St. David's Medical Center (M/T, 9-1pm). 

Preemie Posse runners and waterstop #22 volunteers for the Livestrong Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, February 17, 2013

Thanks to Our Superior Strength Preemie Power Sponsors!


St. David's Healthcare

Preemie Posse 2013

Preemie Power Super Heroes

Wonder BellaMeet Isabella, a 2011 contest entrant, who was born at 24 weeks and weighed just 1 lb 11 oz at birth. Now nearly 3 in this photo, her mom writes, "...she resiliently radiated a personality of determination and fighting spirit. That same spirit has helped her overcome 3 hospitalizations in the PICU..." Be inspired by more Preemie Power Super Heroes and watch for the 2012 winners’ announcement on Nov. 17th!

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   About Hand to Hold
Hand to Hold logoHand to Hold is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications. 

Hand to Hold - www.handtohold.org - 855-H2H-NICU

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