A special reason to march

Published 6:42 pm Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sanaa Darden has a special connection to the March of Dimes. The 6-year-old serves as the ambassador for the organization’s 2014 March for Babies, and her brief life experience makes her the perfect representative to do so.

Sanaa was born, two months premature, on Dec. 3, 2007. Her birth weight was 3 pounds, two ounces, and she immediately began to lose weight. She spent the first month of her life in the hospital before her parents were finally able to take her home for the first time.

But that first night having their daughter home, Sanaa’s parents knew from her crying that something was wrong, so they took her to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters the following day. She was immediately admitted for surgery on her intestines and then spent a month in the neonatal intensive care unit before being released to go home again.

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Sanaa spent her second night at home on Feb. 3, 2008. It had been a rough start for the child, but today, according to her mother Sanaa is “a wonderful, healthy, smart girl” who is very active and has a strong personality.

Sanaa’s story represents an extremely successful outcome for a premature baby. It’s the sort of story the March of Dimes is working to make more common. The organization’s primary goal is to help mothers have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies, according to its website, but the research the nonprofit does on problems that threaten the lives of newborn children and the information it provides to parents of babies born prematurely contributes significantly to the rate of positive outcomes for those babies in America.

Folks in Suffolk have been strong supporters of the March of Dimes in the past. Last year, for instance, Suffolk Public Schools raised $24,000 for the organization, and the schools and their faculties and administration are expected to continue their support this year, especially through donations connected to the March for Babies, which is set for April 26 at Constant’s Wharf Park.

To learn how you can get involved in this worthy effort — and make sure more children grow to be healthy and happy like Sanaa — visit www.marchofdimes.com/Virginia.