BENEFITING: March of Dimes Foundation
EVENT DATE: Nov 07, 2016
In 2010, Becky and Suren Sivarajah were excited to start their family. They eagerly awaited the arrival of twin boys, Sidney and Sebastian. Becky’s pregnancy appeared to be progressing normally, until, at almost 27 weeks, Becky began experiencing abdominal pain. They rushed to the hospital to learn the pain was premature contractions. During an ultrasound the Sivarajah’s were devastated to find out that one of the twins no longer had a heartbeat. A few hours later Becky gave birth to Sidney, stillborn, followed by Sebastian who was two pounds and three ounces. The boys were born 13 weeks early.
Becky and Suren went from buying everything in two’s and picturing their sons grow up together, to wondering if they were going to be bringing any children home from the hospital. After 10 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit and two treatments of Surfactant Therapy, developed by the March of Dimes, Becky and Suren brought Sebastian home. Today, Sebastian is an intelligent and loving 6 year-old who loves playing soccer, reading and being a big brother to Olivia.
Like Sebastian, about 380,000 babies are born too soon in the United States each year. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face an increased risk of a lifetime of health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.
The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the causes of premature birth and providing comfort and information to families. The Sivarajah family’s story and their volunteer work for the March of Dimes stand as living proof of the life-saving measures supported and developed as a result of the organization’s commitment to research and educational programs to help give every baby a fighting chance. They hope their story can provide hope for other families and help the March of Dimes to reach the day when all babies are born strong and healthy.