Family Shares Story of Toddler’s Fight for Life

By Stephanie Parkinson

February 20, 2013 Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 6:18 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - The March of Dimes chapter in Northeast Indiana kicked off its 2013 March for Babies Campaign Wednesday. This year the chapter's poster child, 14-month-old Arden, is from the Summit City.

Arden was born 15 weeks early weighing just less than one pound. He was taken right away to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). It wasn't until more than 100 days later he was strong enough to go home with his family.

"It's amazing that, you know, we have him. It's amazing that we have him at all,” said Lesley Modarressi, Arden's Mother. "It's not the ideal circumstance but it was really neat to get to see people work with him and get to know him, you know before we were really supposed to."

The Modarressi Family hopes their story will help others by seeing how happy and healthy their son is today. When Arden’s father was asked what he loves to do most with his son he said playing with his toy kitchen.

“We'll sit there and cook because he sees us in the kitchen and he likes to watch,” said Shahin Modarressi, Arden's Father.

"He's into everything, typical one year old, typical 14-month-old,” said Lesley.

Along with gearing up for the March for Babies walks The March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th birthday this year so they are also bringing more ambassador families on board for their campaign, like the Shenefields.

"When you spend six weeks in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) with your child you see the ones who don't make it, the ones who aren't going to see the 6th birthday, the 8th birthday and it does make, you know, riding a bike and reading a book with her, tying her shoes very important,” said Jamie Shenefield, Emma's Mother.

Two years ago Emma's family first told their story when Emma was a poster child for the same effort. The now 8-year-old is happy and healthy and her mother believes that's all thanks to the March of Dimes research efforts.

"Emma wouldn't be here it wasn't the research. I think that is why she's here today,” said Shenefield.

For more information on the March for Babies walks in Northeast Indiana click here..

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