Read why this charity hits home with the Bernardo Family...
The reason I chose the March of Dimes as my charity of choice is because they hold a dear place in my families hearts and have become a part of my life story. In 2019, my twins, Luke and Layla, were born premature at just 26 weeks weighing in at 2lb’s and 1lb 11oz. Premature birth is considered any baby born before 37 weeks and is the leading cause of newborn deaths in the United States. The March of Dimes efforts focus on the growing problem of premature birth and works to help improve the health of mothers and babies.
Having twins, let alone premature twins, is not something you plan for or expect to happen. When my wife and I found out we were having two babies instead of one, we were in total shock. Already having a six year old daughter at home, the thought was exciting, yet terrifying. When my wife went into emergency labor at 26 weeks, being terrified became an understatement. I was now faced with possibly not only losing Luke and Layla, but also losing my wife.
Thankfully, she survived, and the babies were successfully delivered but put straight in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They were so helpless, extremely tiny and were there for four and a half months fighting for their lives each and every day.
During our time at the hospital, The March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program helped us in more ways than one. From day one, they provided educational materials, CPR and other relevant courses, networking opportunities with other NICU families, organized arts and crafts events and most importantly, provided my entire family emotional support. All the resources they provided were relevant to many of the issues that we faced and answers to questions that we had. They truly helped us throughout the most difficult time of our lives.
Today, both Luke and Layla are thriving and love their big sister Angelina. They are filled with nothing but joy and grow stronger every day.