Jeffrey and Alexa Bigwarfe know the hurt of losing an infant and the hope of giving more youngsters healthy starts in life.
When the Columbia couple’s twins, Charis and Kathryn, were born 10 weeks premature more than a year ago, the two each weighed less than 2 pounds. Kathryn lived just two days and Charis had to spend 12 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Palmetto Health Richland. Nearly 15 months later, Charis weighs 16 pounds and is learning to take her first steps.
The Bigwarfe family is crediting the March of Dimes for the role it played in their daughter’s recovery and has been selected Columbia’s 2013 March for Babies Ambassadors.
As the ambassador family, the Bigwarfes will help raise awareness about the lifesaving work of the March of Dimes, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and will serve as the official spokespeople for this year’s Greater Columbia March for Babies event April 27 at The State Fairgrounds.
“No parent should have to experience the life-changing journey that happens when a baby is born too soon,” Alexa Bigwarfe said. “That’s why we’re honored to have this opportunity to help the March of Dimes continue working for the day when every family knows the joy of having a healthy baby.”
March of Dimes spokeswoman Jacki Apel said the Bigwarfes are the model family to serve as March for Babies ambassadors.
“The first criteria for ambassador candidates are families who have been touched by the mission of the March of Dimes,” Apel said. “From there, we look for those families who have taken on an active volunteer role with the March of Dimes and who are comfortable sharing that story in public. Ambassador families bring the mission of the March of Dimes to life.”
Premature birth touches a half-million babies and their families every year, including nearly 9,000 babies in South Carolina. Babies born too soon struggle to survive and may have lifelong health consequences. The March of Dimes seeks to find the answers to premature birth and funds local programs to educate healthcare providers and future parents.
To register for March for Babies, visit www.marchforbabies.org or call (803) 403-8524.