Richard and Shannon Robinson said they are grateful for the help given by the March of Dimes when they had a premature baby. The Robinsons are helping with fundraising Saturday at the annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica on Maui. CLICK FOR LARGE
March of Dimes helps mothers
A Valley Isle family appreciates the kokua with their new baby
WAILUKU » Maui resident Shannon Robinson feared losing her baby three months before term in an Oahu hospital.
But the staff and volunteers at the March of Dimes provided her the information and counseling to lessen her fears as she waited to give birth to her first child, Robinson said.
"I needed that preparation. It just helped to make it less intimidating," she said.
Nearly nine months later, Robinson and her husband, Richard, are happy with the progress of their daughter, Rachel, who has grown from 1 pound 13 ounces to about 15 pounds.
For more information or to register for WalkAmerica, visit walkamerica.org, call (800) 525-WALK or call the Maui coordinator, Sue Haylor, at 757-0612.
The Robinsons have been designated as the "ambassador family" in the annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica fundraiser, 7:30 a.m. Saturday at War Memorial Gymnasium on Maui.
March of Dimes officials say they are attempting to raise awareness and money to fight serious threats to infant health, including premature births, the leading cause of newborn deaths.
More than a half-million babies are born too soon each year, and many of them die, according to the March of Dimes.
In excess of 120,000 babies are born with serious birth defects that can mean a lifetime of disability, it said.
Shannon Robinson said that through its support of research, the March of Dimes passes on educational information to help parents care for premature infants.
"Everyone can help by joining the millions of compassionate people across the country that support WalkAmerica every year."
Robinson said that through the March of Dimes, she received tips on how to handle the baby and learned that too much stimulation was not good.
She said premature babies have thin skin and are sensitive to sound and light, so she learned to speak in low tones in a room with minimal lighting.
Robinson said she also learned "kangaroo care," or placing her infant's chest to her chest so that the child can hear the parent's heart beat.
Robinson said the kangaroo care worked well with Rachel.
"She's familiar with it, so she just basically slept all the time I held her. We did that every day for an hour a day," Robinson said.
The 2007 National WalkAmerica Sponsors include CIGNA, Continental Airlines, Famous Footwear, Farmers, FedEx and Kmart.
On Maui, local sponsors include Hilo Hattie, Central Pacific Bank, Atlas Insurance, Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, Hawaii Management Alliance Association, Sprint Hawaii and Maui Toyota.