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Six-Year-Old Survivor Fights for Preemies Like Himself
Date:11/9/2009

March of Dimes Names 2010 National Ambassador

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Joshua Hoffman of Weston, Fla., was born so early and with so many underdeveloped organs that doctors could not say whether he would survive -- or if he would ever walk, talk, see or hear. Today, the 6-year-old was named March of Dimes 2010 National Ambassador.

Joshua's mom, Melanie Hoffman, recalls, "My first minutes of motherhood and I was completely devastated. My husband, Lee, and I couldn't be more terrified, and I was positive that after just 24 hours I had no more tears left." Joshua was born more than 4 months too soon, weighing 1 pound, 11 ounces.

The Hoffman family credits the research and treatments funded by the March of Dimes with helping Joshua overcome his premature birth. He spent 3 1/2 months in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Fla., and had many surgeries and treatments, including heart surgery, laser eye surgery and blood transfusions.

As national ambassador, Joshua and his family are helping to raise awareness that premature birth is a common problem with serious health consequences. November is Prematurity Awareness Month(R), and the family is urging everyone to visit marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies to help raise awareness and support research into the causes of premature birth.

"Premature birth can happen to anyone, and when it does happen, it exacts a huge toll emotionally, physically and financially on families," says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "We are grateful to the Hoffman family for sharing their amazing story."

Today, Joshua has a visual impairment with blindness in his right eye and a low field of vision. But that hasn't stopped him from doing what he loves most -- reading, building things, swimming, and giving sp
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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