Today my husband and I are writing to inform you not of Blake's progress or his daily doings but rather are writing to ask for you help and bring light to a foundation very close to our hearts. The March of Dimes is a charity/foundation that help with research to help improve the health of babies. One of the biggest contributions they have done that directly effected the path that Blake went down in the NICU was their research done on surfactant therapy. Surfactant is a chemical found in all newborns that allow the babies aveoli to stay open and promotes gas exchange. However, babies born prematurely do not produce enough surfactant on their own that the lungs stiffen, and aveoli are unable to stay open causing lungs to collapse, gas exchange to stop, and eventually leading to death. After over 12 million dollars provided by the March of Dimes Surfactant therapy was approved and is now used on all premature babies to help provide the chemical that their lungs are just too small to produce. Blake received several doses in the first week of his life and is a big part of why he was able to make it through the first few crucial weeks. The March of Dimes has also helped to fund many of the therapies used today on mothers during their pregnancy to help get them to full term, as well as other well known medical procedures, medicines that help lengthen a babies life.
1970s—Indomethacin Therapy. March of Dimes grantees Abraham M. Rudolph and Michael A. Heyman at the University of California at San Francisco discovered that administering the drug indomethacin could be used to correct patent ductus arteriosus, a heart condition common in premature infants. This discovery has saved many babies the risks and pain of heart surgery.
1980s—Prevention of Newborn Jaundice. Basic research by March of Dimes grantees Attallah Kapas, MD, and George Drummond, PhD, led to the development of a drug to help prevent newborn jaundice. If left untreated, newborn jaundice can damage the brain and central nervous system.
1980s and 1990s—Surfactant Therapy. The March of Dimes has a long history of funding research on newborn lung development and has invested over $12.5 million in researchers studying this important issue. One of the most important breakthroughs in this field was the work of T. Allen Merritt, MD, at the University of California San Diego Medical Center. His research showing the effectiveness of surfactant therapy for premature babies with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) helped convince the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve surfactant therapy to prevent and treat RDS. Surfactant is a detergent-like substance produced in the lungs that aids in breathing. Since surfactant therapy became widespread, infant deaths due to RDS have dropped by over two-thirds. The March of Dimes continues to support research to develop new and more effective surfactant therapies.
1990s—Nitric Oxide Therapy. March of Dimes grantees John P. Kinsella, MD, and Steven Abman, MD, of Children's Hospital at the University of Colorado studied the role of nitric oxide in the regulation of blood flow to the lungs. Their work led to the approval of nitric oxide to treat newborns with persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), life-threatening high blood pressure in the baby's lungs that often interferes with breathing.
1990s—Fish Oil Therapy to Prevent Preterm Delivery. March of Dimes grantee Dr. Sjudur F. Olsen of the Danish Epidemiology Science Center of Copenhagen, Denmark, analyzed the results of six research studies and found that fish oil capsules may help prevent preterm delivery. Since 1996 the March of Dimes has invested over $300,000 to support this and related research.
1998—Perinatal Epidemiological Research Initiative (PERI). A multi-year, $7 million investment to support the investigation of social and biological conditions associated with preterm labor and birth. PERI has produced new understanding related to the development of preterm labor as well as important genetic, nutritional, stress, psychosocial and clinical factors.
2000s—Therapy for Anemia of Prematurity. March of Dimes grantee John A. Widness at the University of Iowa is studying intravenous iron therapy that could be used in conjunction with other treatment options to treat anemia in premature babies. This would reduce the need for babies to receive blood transfusions.
This foundation is such a big help in fighting for the small babies that just don't have the strength to do it themselves. Our team "Team Hargis" will be raising money in memory of our son Conor and in honor of our little fighter Blake.
Its not about which team your on, or which team raises the most money. What it is about it helping!
We have several friends,who themselves, are raising money for their families. Please take the time today and donate every dollar counts. For every dollar raised 76 cents is given directly to programs and research that help a babies brain, spine, lungs, heart and eyes. Please visit our site for Team Hargis as well as our friends fighting for the same cause and DONATE!!
If you would like to walk in the march for babies our team is walking April 27th in the Evansville walk! Hope to see you their showing your support!!