Ambassadors for March for Babies

Three years ago, Loriana Morris and Jake Decker learned they were expecting twin boys — a joyful addition to a family that already included toddler Jocelyn. Their excitement was dampened, however, when Loriana was diagnosed with Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) at 24 weeks and started an arduous journey to keep her babies medically safe.

“TTTS can have serious medical consequences for the babies and the mother,” said Morris, an engineer with Houston March for Babies Presenting Sponsor KBR. “The onset of this condition turned my pregnancy into daily, constant worrying about the what-ifs. The new world of high-risk pregnancy, entailing perinatologists, weekly sonograms, dopplers, and fetal ECHO exams, was truly baffling and unsettling.” she added.

Morris credits March of Dimes Antepartum Family Program volunteers with helping make her hospital stays less lonely by providing conversation, a much-needed toiletry bag and a book on preemies.

According to Morris, “When the boys were born, there were no hearty cries and only a brief, stolen moment without tubes and wires. I knew I was lucky to have gotten to week 33, and the boys fortunately survived TTTS. We knew the boys’ NICU stay was necessary, and that they would receive the best care, but it was an extraordinarily trying and emotional time.”

Today, Wesley and Gabriel are bright, active two year olds, and the Morris/Decker family is dedicated to making sure every parent has the same happy ending.

The Morris/Decker family is serving as Houston’s 2011 March for Babies Ambassador Family to help raise awareness about the lifesaving research and support of the March of Dimes.

Funds raised by March for Babies help support community programs, research grants and advocacy efforts for stronger, healthier babies. Last year, March of Dimes launched Houston’s first NICU Family Support Program at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas to provide information and comfort to families coping with a baby in a newborn intensive care unit because of premature birth or another medical condition. Also in 2010, all Texas babies were screened for cystic fibrosis—a victory six years in the making with the Texas legislature.

To join or start a walk team, Houstonians (and out-of-towners) can sign up at www.marchforbabies.org. March for Babies will be held on May 1. Opening ceremonies kick off at 8 a.m., and the five-mile walk begins at 9 a.m. at the University of Houston’s Robertson Stadium.

This year, the Houston March for Babies expects to raise $3.2 million, with millions of dollars returning directly to the Texas Medical Center for prenatal, perinatal and neonatal care research and programs.

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