March for Babies fights for healthy kids through Balboa Park walk

Mom of preterm baby gives heartwarming thank you

SAN DIEGO - A problem with a pregnancy is something every expecting mother and father fears. Thousands walked through Balboa Park on Saturday so more children can take their first steps.

The morning of March for Babies, it started off windy and crews had been dreading rain. As 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt kicked off the walk, there was a sudden burst of rain. But it was hard not to notice the full rainbow that flashed across the sky.

For some, the walk is just another charity walk. That is what it had always been for Amanda Knickerbocker.

"Honestly, before Charlotte was born, [they] were just those kind of purple posters that you saw," she said.

Her daughter Charlotte was born at just 23 weeks. She was so small and it was scary. Her parents counted down the days until they could take her home: 210 to be exact. Their life was anything but normal. 

"Over the past four years we have had hospitalizations and surgeries and therapies," Knickerbocker explained.

Dr. Lance Prince of UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital has dedicated his life to helping others, but at a certain point his hands are tied. About 10 percent of babies are born prematurely in the county.

"There's nothing more frustrating than to have a critically ill baby and know that there's only limited things you can do," Prince said.

They do not know what causes prematurity, so they cannot stop it.

"The only way we're going to get cures is through research, and the March of Dimes is invested completely in finding these cures and funding the research that we need," Prince added. 

Knickerbocker said through tears, "We walk and we raise money because there are families that don't even know it yet that they will be touched by it."

Her little girl then put her arms around her mother's neck to give her a much-needed hug. Charlotte is growing up and is now 4 years old.

"She loves princesses and superheroes, and she jumps on her brother's head," said Knickerbocker. "She is as typical as a 4-year-old girl can get, and the March of Dimes gave her that chance."

Now, she could not be more grateful about those purple posters and the people who rally behind them.

"Before the research that the March of Dimes did, she never would have had a chance, and she is the heart and soul of our family," Knickerbocker added.

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