The Grager Family is honored to serve as the Ambassador Family for the 2018 Altoona March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Like many parents, they had no idea how much March of Dimes helps babies to thrive until they experienced it first-hand.
After miscarrying in September 2009, Katie was cautious but excited to find she was expecting again in November. While the pregnancy started fairly normally, in early March she began showing symptoms of pre-eclampsia and was closely monitored and even placed on bedrest. During a sonogram, it was noted that blood flow to the
umbilical cord wasn’t good, and she was prepared for a C-section.
On May 26, 2010, at 29 weeks and 4 days, Cayden was born weighing 2 lbs. 7 oz., and only 14 and a half inches long. Because of being administered betamethasone, a steroid, prior to his birth, he was able to breathe on his own with only light air via c-pap assisting him, but faced a long road ahead with bowel issues. After 15 days in the Conemaugh NICU, Cayden was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh where it was discovered he had an underdeveloped colon. He became severely anemic and underwent two blood transfusions before being well enough to return to Conemaugh.
After 45 days in two different NICUs, Cayden came home on July 10th. His family is so thankful for the doctors and nurses who took amazing care of him, especially Nurse Joanne Gallic with her positive attitude. Eight years later, he is no longer a tiny baby, but an avid fisherman with a passion for baseball and football who loves to make people smile. There have been no long term effects of prematurity, and Cayden has exceeded all expectations.
The Gragers are honored to share their family’s story and are grateful for the other preemies and families who have walked this journey before them. More than 380,000 babies like Cayden are born prematurely each year.
March of Dimes believes that every baby deserves the best possible start. Unfortunately, not all babies get one. March of Dimes is changing that. We support critical research, lead programs, and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start.