Franco Storm Venzi weighed just over two pounds when he was born, 14 weeks premature, April 9, 2007.
At 21 weeks into her pregnancy, his mother Francine found out there was a placental abruption, which means the placenta tears away from the uterine wall. This causes heavy bleeding in the mother, deprives the baby of oxygen and eventually led to the early delivery.
Franco spent his first three months in hospitals, but the healthy six-year-old is a member of the March of Dimes Ambassador Family for the 2013 Rockland County March for Babies Sunday morning at Blue Hill Plaza in Pearl River. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
The March for Babies walks raise money to support the March of Dimes' in its efforts to ensure more healthy births and provide care and support for infants that need it and their families.
"Sometimes we are so caught up in the moment and in our own personal situation that we do not stop to reflect on the what, the when and the why," Francine Verzi wrote in an essay shared by the March of Dimes. "I am shameful to admit that it wasn't until we were honored with the role of Ambassador Family for the Rockland County March of Dimes that I realized how much the research and efforts of the March program affected all of our lives, especially Franco's If it wasn't for their contributing to research throughout the years in the development of NICU's, the benefits of folic acid during pregnancy, surfactant therapy for infant lung development, newborn screenings and the like, our outcome would not have been the same.
"After all was said and done, my most favorite thing in the world was hearing him breathe on his own."
Families that dealt with premature birth are often part of a March for Babies, sharing their stories to help educate others. Last year Marie Moynihan of Nanuet shared her story on Patch and Rachel Ammer of Garnerville spoke at the 2012 Rockland County March for Babies.
Sundays' event will include food, activities for children, music and other entertainment. Be sure to stop by the Patch table as well.