4-year-old is walking miracle, family says

The call came about midnight.


"I just remember riding in silence," April Ewing said.

Three days earlier, she had given birth to Dylan, and now she was riding to the hospital to say her final goodbyes, she recalled Thursday.

Dylan was born 16 weeks premature. He weighed only 1 pound, 3 ounces and was only 11 inches long.

Mrs. Ewing said she, her husband and their minister prayed over him in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Doctors at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics prepared them for the worst as they performed several surgeries, including work to repair a hole in Dylan's heart.

"It was a lot for a little person to endure," Mrs. Ewing said.

But he did endure. This month, Dylan will turn 4 years old.

Mrs. Ewing and her husband blamed themselves for the premature birth, she said. They didn't know how prevalent premature births are or even how common birth problems are in children born full term.

She found solace in the March of Dimes and began to learn about their efforts to improve the health of babies.

Mrs. Ewing now looks back at Dylan's struggles as a blessing, something that made her family stronger and that can bring attention to the March of Dimes and put a face to its cause.

"I'm sure there are many Dylans around the world," she said. "If me raising $5 can help the next parents not go through what me and my husband went through, then I want to be part of that."

Mrs. Ewing and her team, Dylan's Angels, are raising money as part of the March for Babies, the largest annual fundraiser of the March of Dimes.

The march is held in almost 11,000 cities across the country, including Aiken and Augusta.

The Aiken March for Babies will begin at 9 a.m. April 25 at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

The Augusta walk will be held from 9 a.m. to noon May 2 at Lake Olmstead Park, said Anna Dickinson, the community director for the local chapter of March of Dimes.

Teams can sign up online at www.marchforbabies.org. Donations are being accepted online and up to the day of the walk.

Last year, Richmond County collected $12,000, Ms. Dickinson said. According to March of Dimes, more than $1 billion has been raised since the first walk in 1970.

This is Mrs. Ewing's fourth walk, and the economy has made it more difficult to raise money. The amount isn't as important as the cause, she said.

"You hear about miracles, but this was our opportunity to experience it ourselves," she said. "This happened to us so we could help someone else."


Sign up as a walker or make a donation to the March of Dimes' March for Babies at www.marchforbabies.org. Donations can be made to April Ewing's team at www.marchforbabies.org/dylansangels.