November 17th is World Prematurity Day!

Did you know that 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year? 10% of all births in the United States are preterm, costing over 26 billion dollars in health care and leaving babies and families with long lasting struggles.

In honor of World Prematurity Day, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge in Highland, New York, USA will light up in PURPLE at dusk on November 17, 2021 to raise awareness for premature babies like my daughter, Joy. Will you watch it live with us? You can watch it live on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferDegl

Prematurity Awareness Month

(our front porch in purple lights)

World Prematurity Day is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of the challenges and burden of preterm birth around the world. The day was initiated by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) and partnering organizations in 2008. The international co-founders Little Big Souls (Africa) and March of Dimes (USA) joined the celebrations and made World Prematurity Day an intercontinental movement. Meanwhile, countless individuals and organizations from more than 100 countries join forces with activities, special events and commit to action to help prevent premature births, provide awareness and improve the outcomes for premature babies and their families.

Joy Degl

(Joy, Day 3 of life)

I am the mother of a micro preemie (Joy), who was born at just 23 weeks gestation in 2012. Joy weighed just 1 pound, 4 ounces (575 grams) at birth and was only 11 ¾ inches long. I survived four near-death experiences during my short pregnancy due to my advanced case of placenta percreta (on the extreme side of placenta accreta spectrum). My daughter (Joy) spent 121 days fighting for her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York.

World Prematurity Day

(first hold, 1 month old)

Jennifer has been advocating for maternal and neonatal health ever since. I have published three books, several papers and written countless articles to help raise awareness. I am proud to serve on the Leadership Team for the International Neonatal Consortium and on the Board of Directors for both the NICU Parent Network and the NIDCAP Federation International- each of which help promote better outcomes for premature and medically fragile babies. My favorite job, other than being a high school science teacher in NY) is mentoring NICU parents. I am the creator and coordinator of Maria’s Hope, the NICU parent mentor program at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Joy is doing very well today, in the 3rd grade, although she does live with some complications from her extremely premature birth that affect her lungs.

Jennifer Degl

Please join us on Wednesday, November 17th to watch the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge light up in purple to raise awareness about babies like Joy for World Prematurity Day.

Where will you watch it from? Or just watch it live at https://www.facebook.com/JenniferDegl

Take pictures and tag us at @jenniferdegl and use the hashtag #worldprematurityday and #fromhopetojoy

You can learn more about the organizations that support premature babies and their families at:

EFCNI: https://www.efcni.org/

Little Big Souls: http://littlebigsoulsghana.com/

March of Dimes: https://www.marchofdimes.org/

International Neonatal Consortium: https://c-path.org/programs/inc/

NICU Parent Network: https://nicuparentnetwork.org/

NIDCAP Federation International: https://nidcap.org/

Thank you for your support and don’t forget to wear PURPLE on Wednesday 11/17 and watch the bridge light up in purple to support World Prematurity Day.