Fayetteville, Ga. (March 7, 2014) – Parker Cantrell, now three years old, was one of nearly half a million babies born prematurely in the United States, according to the March of Dimes. Cantrell, whose twin brother Travis died three days after they were born on August 15, 2010 at Piedmont Fayette Hospital, is Fayette County’s 2014 March of Dimes Ambassador.
“Not long after I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I found out we were expecting twins,” said Heather Cantrell. “We knew life was going to change in a big way. Little did we know what hurdles we would face through the pregnancy and afterwards.”
The Cantrell boys were born 8 weeks early. Travis weighed 3 lbs., 12 oz. and Parker entered the world shortly thereafter weighing 4 lbs., 12 oz. From the beginning, Travis was very sick and required life support until he passed away only three days after his birth. Parker spent 28 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Piedmont Fayette Hospital before going home.
“I never thought I would need the services of the NICU,” said Cantrell, who has dedicated herself to supporting the March of Dimes’ efforts. “I had passed the March of Dimes plaques on the wall to the NICU many days, barely noticing them. No family should ever go through the pain that my family experienced. Parker saved my life, and my daughter Lillian, who was born a few years later, healed my heart.”
Last year, Piedmont Fayette employees raised more than $93,000 for the March of Dimes. These funds support lifesaving research into the causes and prevention of prematurity and birth defects as well as supports legislation that improves care for moms and babies.
“Everyone who participates in the walk and every donation makes a difference,” said Debbie Britt, executive director of community and public relations for Piedmont Fayette. “We hope the community will help us raise greater awareness and exceed the funds we raised last year.”
The Fayette County March for Babies walk is Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. at Picnic Park, 151 Willowbend Road, Peachtree City. To sign up for the walk or join Piedmont Fayette’s team, visit marchforbabies.org.