A preemie. That is the nickname given to a premature baby, itself a term given to a baby before 37 complete weeks of pregnancy. The risks and complications range from being unable to maintain body heat because of low body fat to having trouble breathing to jaundice, low blood sugar, anemia, infection, apnea, brain hemorrhaging even impaired hearing or vision. Long term effects include developmental delays, learning disabilities, motor deficits, behavioral/psychological or other chronic health problems.
Being the brother of a 26-week preemie as well as being impacted by other baby-related issues in his family, Roselle Park High School freshman Ryan Urban’s passion has led him to participate in the Annual March of Dimes’ March for Babies since he was ten-years-old. Last week, on April 26th, Ryan took part in his fifth March for Babies.
Ryan recounted, “The experience of this Walk always amazes me. They have families that come and share their stories about how the March of Dimes has helped their kids become stronger and healthier. Nothing makes me happier than that.”
Even before he starting take part in the March for Babies, Ryan was exposed to its importance from hearing about his grandmother who had been doing it for almost two decades. In 2010, he decided to take his first step, pun intended, and take part in the March himself.
“Anything I can do by way of raising funds and awareness to help improve the health of babies is the least I can do,” Ryan said, “It touched my life personally and I just want to do my part to make a difference. This has been something I have wanted to do.”
This year was no different and Ryan once again, collected donations, met other families, and took a walk. With every step, he knew it would be one step closer to help another baby, another mother, another family.
“The March of Dimes has been around for a very long time and they’ve saved many, many lives all around the world. Without them, some loved ones wouldn’t be here today,” Ryan said about what keeps him involved. And when next year comes around again, he will once again collect donations and march again, knowing that every step helps.