Preventing Birth Defects: The March of Dimes

Tuesday, August 24th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The March of Dimes has helped save millions of babies from disabilities, even death. For example, the national organization funded the development of the first polio vaccine most children receive in hospitals today. But to do the right research, you must have the right amount of money. This week, a major fundraiser is underway to help raise funds for the organization's ongoing research.

Austin and Katlin Monroe are typical happy-go-lucky 6-year-olds. It almost didn't turn out that way. The Monroe twins were born prematurely and spent their first 13 days fighting for their lives in an intensive care unit. "It was a very scary time," said the twins father Mike Monroe. "We weren't sure if our daughter Katlin was going to make it because she got sick very early. Then Austin's lungs were obviously not developed at all," he said.

Thanks to the March of Dimes, Austin received a drug called surfactant that helps promote the development of lungs. Surfactant is just one of the many drugs available today thanks in part to funding from the national organization.

The Monroes say they're grateful to March of Dimes. Today, their children are happy, healthy first graders. "They are perfectly normal six-and-a-half-year-olds, " said the twins' mother Dee Monroe. "You would never know the trouble they had in the beginning. They are very healthy, active kids, thanks to the March of Dimes."

Now the Monroes are volunteers with the March of Dimes and encourage others to support the organization responsible for saving so many precious young lives.