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March of Dimes Honors Babies on 'El Dia de Todos los Santos'
Date:11/1/2007

More than 5,000 Latino Infants Don't Live to See their First Birthday

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On "El Dia de Todos Los Santos" the March of Dimes is honoring all babies -- those born healthy, those who need help to thrive and survive, and those who died in infancy.

Nearly 28,000 infants die before their first birthday each year -- more than 5,000 to Latina mothers and more than 2,500 in California alone.

Vicente Perez, Jr. is just one of those.

He was born 13 weeks too soon on August 25, 2005, along with his two sisters, Priscilla and Melissa. The triplets spent months in hospital neonatal intensive care units. Priscilla and Melissa finally came home, but Vicente lived only six months.

"Parents are not supposed to bury their children," said his father, Vicente Perez, Sr. "Vicente was our only son and we had to bury him. We lost part of our lives when we lost him."

Mr. Perez's story is one of thousands being gathered by the March of Dimes across the country as part of Prematurity Awareness Month in November. People can share their stories online at http://marchofdimes.com/everybaby or by getting on board a specially equipped "Every Baby Story Tour" motorcoach that will visit 16 cities across the country.

Mr. Perez shared his story at a breakfast for the news media at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where he was joined by Dayanara Torres, star of CW-TV's Watch Over Me, and Carolina Reyes, MD, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Best Babies Network, a coordinating body for the Healthy Births Initiative.

"Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. More than 100,000 Latino infants are born premature each year and the rate of preterm birth among Latinos has increased nearly 10 percent over the past decade -- from 10.9 percent in 1994 to 12 percent in 2004," said Dr. Reyes. "Prematurity
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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