JACKSON CENTER —
Jacqueline and Jared McCullough were happy to be expecting their first child. The Jackson Center couple never dreamed of any complications like a premature birth until Izzabelle was born 12 weeks too soon and no one knew if she would survive.
Izzabelle weighed just 1 pound, 9 ounces at birth. During her first few months, she suffered with respiratory distress, faced feeding issues and underwent multiple blood transfusions and spinal taps.
After three months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Izzabelle was finally able to come home. While she's not yet a year old, this remarkable little girl has overcome many struggles in her young life.
Premature babies are not just small babies. They are babies who are not ready to be born, and they require specialized care to help them thrive.
March of Dimes funded research on surfactant therapy and nitric oxide, two applications that help underdeveloped lungs of preterm babies to breathe easier. Since the development of these two therapies, two-thirds of the babies who would have died from respiratory distress syndrome now survive their early birth.
The McCullough family knows the significant role that March of Dimes research played in helping Izzabelle get this far. They are grateful for the chance to serve as the 2013 Mercer County Ambassador Family.
As ambassadors, the McCulloughs will share their story and encourage people to participate in the March of Dimes' largest fundraiser, March for Babies. Proceeds support community programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies as well as research to find answers to problems that threaten babies' lives.
"Serving as the Mercer County Ambassador family is a way for us to show our appreciation for our child's good health and serve as advocates for lifesaving March of Dimes programs," Jacqueline McCullough said. "My daughter, Izzabelle, is one of their success stories; a perfect example of what March of Dimes efforts have accomplished."
Nearly half a million babies are born too soon each year. Babies who survive an early birth often have breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and other lifelong problems. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.
March for Babies is held in 900 communities across the country and involves more than 7 million people each year. In Mercer County, March for Babies will take place at 9 a.m. May 5 at Buhl Farm Park. Area residents are encouraged to register and raise funds for lifesaving research and educational programs at marchforbabies.org.
In Mercer County, March for Babies is sponsored by Daffin's and UPMC Horizons.
Join the McCullough family by visiting www.marchforbabies.org; or call 412-506-8614 to sign up as an individual; start a corporate, family/friends team; or to donate so babies that need help can survive and thrive.
Published April. 6, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.