Parents Warren and Leihani Duldulao have recounted the story of the birth of their daughter hundreds of times. It is a story they are happy to repeat so often because it has a great ending.
But when Kirrah was born, they were not sure that would be the case.
Born at 24 weeks because of her mother’s preeclampsia, Kirrah spent 75 days in the hospital struggling to survive. Luckily for the Duldulao family, their daughter did survive. And today, she thrives.
The Duldulaos realize how research helped Kirrah make it through her first few weeks of life. And they know that the March of Dimes supported much of the research that saved her life. This year, with their 19-month-old daughter, the Duldulao family has been chosen as the 2013 Ambassador Family for the Hilo March for Babies event.
The couple will share their story and help the March of Dimes’ 75th anniversary celebration to raise awareness and funds to help children like their daughter. Each year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely, and more than 120,000 babies are born with serious birth defects.
With the support of millions of people and thousands of companies, the March of Dimes has been able to reduce the rate of premature birth. However, there are still too many babies born too soon or sick.
“When Kirrah was born, a moment that was supposed to be the happiest in my life turned into the most frightening,” explained Leihani. “The fact that Kirrah has grown to this vibrant, loving child is a testament to her will and the March of Dimes ability to truly improve the health of babies. That’s what motivates us to tell our story and help raise money for March for Babies.”
The Hilo March for Babies will take place on Saturday, April 27, at Wailoa State Park. Registration begins at 6:45 a.m., with the opening ceremony at 7:45 a.m. and the walk beginning at 8 a.m.
Area residents are encouraged to register and raise funds for lifesaving research and educational programs at marchforbabies.org.
“March for Babies is a great combination of doing something that’s fun and doing something that’s important,” stated Christal Letizia, family team coordinator. “We invite all Hilo families to join us in walking together for stronger, healthier babies.”
Funds raised by March for Babies in Hilo support the March of Dimes Hawaii Chapter and NICU Family Support. Sponsors are HMAA, Longs Drugs, Hawaii News Now, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii Dental Services, UHA, HMSA, Hawaii Pacific Health, Matson Foundation, Hawaiian Tug & Barge and The Queen’s Medical Center.
Join the Duldulao family by visiting marchforbabies.org to register, or contact Eden Patino at 987-0118 and start raising awareness and funds so babies that need help can survive and thrive.
The March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Famous Footwear, Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, Watson Pharmaceuticals, and United Airlines.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.