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Micro-Preemie Survives to Become March of Dimes 2009 National Ambassador
Date:1/13/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Born no larger than a ballpoint pen at birth, a premature baby girl who survived overwhelming odds has been named the 2009 National Ambassador for the March of Dimes, it was announced today.

Katelyn Marie Hall, age 5, from Leesburg, Virginia, was born very early at 25 weeks, weighing less than one pound. The family says Katelyn was given only a 5 percent chance of survival. During her five-month stay in the NICU, she endured many of the obstacles that are common to babies born prematurely. She was treated for chronic lung disease, battled many infections, underwent heart surgery, and suffered from bleeding in the brain.

When Katelyn's parents, Ashley and Michael Hall, finally got to take their little daughter home, Katelyn's calendar quickly filled up with numerous visits every week to doctors, including a neonatologist, pediatric cardiologist, gastroenterologist, ophthalmologist, and more. Katelyn was also on supplementary oxygen and took ten medications every day.

Katelyn is one of the more than 540,000 babies born too soon every year in the United States. "Premature birth is the most common, serious and costly infant health problem facing our nation, and it has reached a crisis," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "We are determined to find and implement solutions to prevent preterm birth, based on research, best clinical practices and improved education for moms."

Today, Katelyn is the joy of her parents lives. In many ways, she acts like a typical five-year-old -- she loves to run, jump and play outside with her dog, Sequoia. But because of her premature birth, Katelyn has developmental delays and slight cerebral palsy that affects the left side of her body. She began walking and talking late for her age, and continues to work with speech, occupat
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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