Guest Contributor: Kathleen Madera

As a mother, you can try to plan everything to spec. I learned with my second child, as much as you plan, those plans still go out the window. This is the story of a special baby. Through his strength and perseverance, taught the world that no matter how small you are, you can make a big difference.

It was a warm Sunday early morning when Castiell Antonio decided he was going to make his grand entrance into the world. He was eleven weeks early, only weighing 3 pounds and not having lungs strong enough to breathe on their own. As a young mother to a rambunctious toddler and two preteen boys, I never imagined this. I could only look at my son through glass and only hold him while wearing gloves.

But now, this is where we were. A bright NICU room, loud with bells and whistles and nurses rushing in at the sound of an alarm. Nothing about this was how a new mother imagines meeting their bundle of joy. I was alone, in a big scary hospital with no familiar faces in a city I barely even knew.  That’s where March of Dimes came in.

March of Dimes

march of dimes

For 80 years, March of Dimes has been giving every baby a fighting chance at a life worth living. Started from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s struggle with polio, the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis began. It later became known as the March of Dimes. Once polio was eradicated in the United States through vaccinations, they turned their efforts to fighting some of the biggest health threats to mothers and their babies, one being prematurity.

In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year. That means one in ten babies are being born before 37 weeks gestational age. Not only is the birth alone nearly fatal for mother and baby, but if survived babies can face long-term health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss. There are many factors that play into premature births. Sometimes, though, even the doctors are not sure of the cause. For years, many parents live with the guilt and not being able to carry full-term and that can lead to depression and anxiety to add to their family.


March of Dimes

Castiell was born 11 weeks premature. Thanks to the March of Dimes, he is happy and healthy, pictured here on Christmas morning.


Castiell, now 4 years old, is a happy and healthy preschooler, full of curiosity and life. Without March of Dimes’ help, I wouldn’t have known how to care for my son once I got him home. They handled all aspects of his care and my education on the matter. They helped us when it came time for discharge and they contact us yearly for updates. March of Dimes is a special charity that I am proud to work with Car Donation Wizard because I know the work we are doing collectively, will bring more babies to birth full term and give them the best foot forward for life thereafter.