Mom shares emotional story, passion for March of Dimes

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Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five, worldwide.

Five March of Dimes research centers, including one in Chicago, are working to find what causes premature births.  Researchers look at everything from genetics and environment, to socio-economics.

Preventing those early births is the main goal of the March of Dimes.

On Sunday, thousands will gather to help support that cause.

One Chicago mother who received help from the non-profit will once again be among them.

Bertina Power-Stewart was told her son Haydon would never make it home from the hospital after he was born premature.

Doctors gave him 6 months to live.

But Haydon made it home and he’s now 5-year-old.   He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.  He cannot walk, talk or grasp.

Bertina vividly remembers Haydon’s first 28 days of life  in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Northwestern Memorial.

That’s where she was met by staff from the March of Dimes who encouraged her to become an advocate for her son’s care.

She is now working to give back to the organization.

For the fourth year in a row, she’s coordinating fundraising efforts for Team Haydon, a part of the annual March for Babies.

Each year, the March of Dimes touches about 900,000 babies.

By the year 2020, they hope to reduce the national premature birthrate from 9.6% down to 8.1%.

The March for Babies  kicks off this Sunday morning at 8:30  in Grant Park.