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March of Dimes WalkAmerica event returns this Sunday

PLATTSBURGH - When Owen Kramer was born, he came into the world 12 weeks before his mother, Lori Walters-Kramer, expected him.

Not knowing what to expect in relation to Owen's health, the minds of Walters-Kramer and her husband, Tim Kramer, were put at ease when they were given information from the March of Dimes, a charitable organization which provides resources to parents of premature babies.

"We didn't know much about the March of Dimes until after Owen was born," said Walters-Kramer. "We had certainly heard about them, but didn't really appreciate how much work they do for families and their babies."

The information the family received was very helpful, said Walters-Kramer, as Owen suffered from respiratory distress syndrome. It was something immediately noticed and just a precursor for health problems he would have down the road.

"When he was born, he wasn't breathing," recalled Walters-Kramer. "The doctors immediately intubated him and placed him on ventilation."

Owen was also placed on surfactant therapy, a medicine treatment that allowed his lungs to expand. When Walters-Kramer learned the March of Dimes was responsible for funding the research and development of surfactant therapy, which essentially helped save her son's life, she knew she'd do whatever she could to support the organization.

"I am so committed to the March of Dimes," she said. "It's because of them, Owen is alive."

Owen has battled other health problems over the years, including tracheomalacia - an abnormal collapse of the tracheal walls - and bronchomalacia - a weakness in the cartilage found in the walls of the bronchial tubes. However, he is a happy and relatively healthy 7-year-old boy today, and joins his family in supporting the March of Dimes, most notably during the annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica event held in Plattsburgh.

"I cannot bear the thought of not supporting the March of Dimes by walking and raising funds," said Walters-Kramer, who has participated in the walk with her family since 2005.

This year's walk will be held this Sunday, May 1, at the PARC Oval in Plattsburgh. The event will begin with registration at 10 a.m. and the walk to follow at 11 a.m.

For more information, including how to register or sponsor a participant in the walk, call 453-0474 or visit www.marchforbabies.org.

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