On Sunday, May 5, hundreds from the Greater Waterbury area will gather for March for Babies at Quassy Amusement Park to benefit the March of Dimes. Leading the festivities will be Holly Werenko and her husband, Daniel Caouette, along with their sons, Keith and Jack, who will serve as the 2013 Greater Waterbury Ambassador family. They will share their story of Jack’s rare genetic disorder that could have claimed his life, and thank walkers for their commitment to the March of Dimes mission to give all babies a healthy start.
Born two weeks shy of his due date, Jack, who weighed nearly 6 lbs., seemed
perfectly healthy. After being home for just one day, Holly knew that Jack was not feeding efficiently and took him to the pediatrician. Jack was severely
dehydrated and was sent to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for treatment.
“When Jack was born, we had no idea that he would fight for his life for his
first two weeks. When we arrived at the NICU Jack needed a pic line and he was so dehydrated that nurses were almost unable to get an IV started. But no one
knew why,” said Holly.
During a two-week stay in the NICU and numerous tests and procedures, Jack was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. During their time in the hospital, Holly says “our emotions ran from terror at the thought of what could happen to Jack, to elation each time he made progress with each ounce of formula that he kept down.”
A year after Jack’s birth, Holly was shopping at her local Kmart and saw a large March of Dimes display. Kmart, the March of Dimes #1 corporate partner for 29 years, was in the midst of its annual March for Babies campaign. Seeing the display and learning about the March of Dimes, Holly thought it was an
organization she could get involved with.
“I was pretty much in a fog for the first year after Jack was born, but I knew two things: I had to make sure my kids were okay and I had to do something to show my immense gratitude to all of the people that bravely stepped into our lives when our lives were awful, and helped. This is what the March of Dimes also does, so this is where I focused my gratitude and efforts,” said Holly.
Jack is now a happy five year old that loves music, playing hide and seek, and
exploring outside. He attended kindergarten at John Trumbull Primary School.
March for Babies participants can meet the family and hear their story at
Quassy Amusement Park on Sunday, May 5. Funds raised by March for Babies help support prenatal wellness programs, research grants, neonatal intensive care
unit (NICU) family support programs and advocacy efforts for stronger, healthier babies. Registration for March for Babies begins at 9:00 a.m. with the walk kicking off at 10:00 a.m. To register visit marchforbabies.org or marchofdimes.com/ct. Donations may be made online to the family’s team, Team
March for Babies is supported locally by Quassy Amusement Park, Lamar, 102.9
DRC-FM, and statewide sponsors NBC Connecticut and Comcast. March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Famous Footwear, Actavis, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines.
In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life. Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive. Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects. About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby
health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the
March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth
defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and
information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.