By Emily Drooby
The Quaglione Family went out for a walk, not just for the fresh air or exercise, but for babies.
“I like knowing that people are actually raising money and walking around their house for the kids who are born in the NICU like me,” explained their oldest daughter, Natalie.
Back in 2011, Kerry Quaglione was 32-weeks into her pregnancy when she realized something was wrong.
“I picked her up from work, she wasn’t feeling well,” her husband John explained.
The family eventually made their way to the hospital, where Natalie was born later that night. She was eight weeks early.
“Everybody has a baby and two or three days later, now it’s even faster, they go home, so he said she will probably be there for 6 weeks in the NICU,” explained John.
Natalie was in the hospital for 13 terrifying days, but she made it home safely. Soon after John – who’s the deputy press secretary for the Diocese of Brooklyn, came across a commercial for March of Dimes.
John explained, “And I said to my wife that morning, next year I want to do it.”
The march was started by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the late 1930’s. Funds the nonprofit raised led to the creation of the polio vaccine. They eventually shifted their focus to helping women have healthy pregnancies and babies.
The Quaglione family got involved back in 2013. They have raised thousands of dollars through their yearly walk. Eventually, trouble struck again when their second daughter, Olivia, was also born prematurely.
“At first we saw signs that it could have been around 25, 26, 27 weeks which it would have been very dangerous,” said John.
She was born at 36 weeks, only one week early. John credits medicine funded by March of Dimes research for helping save his baby.
This makes the March of Dimes even more important to the family. Despite the pandemic this year, they wanted to continue to support the cause. So, they took part in a virtual walk, where they raised funds online and walked on their own.
Amy Bishop’s family has also been involved with the nonprofit for years. Her twins were born 10 weeks early.
Amy and her family also participated in the virtual walk this year. She says parents of premature babies need more support than ever these days.
“It’s also just letting these women and their families know that they’re not alone and that people have been through it and there’s people there for you,” said Amy.
Both the Bishop and the Quaglione families proving that even a pandemic can’t stop people from supporting a cause close to their heart.