SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Hundreds of families marched for babies Saturday, and 22News has the story of babies that were born too soon but overcame the odds and are now healthy, happy children.
Ron and Kelli Lemelin's son Sam was born three months early.
"When Sam came out, he was no bigger than a lobster or a pound of hamburger you get at a grocery store," Ron told 22News.
He said, "His skin was still under development. We couldn't even put our fingers on him and rub him because we would've torn his skin, so never knowing anybody that had a premature we had no idea what was in front of us."
But 12 years later, Sam is one of many healthy children who now walk in March for Babies.
These purple flags are for babies who were born premature. Blues are for babies with birth defects. But many families told 22News regardless of what happened at birth, the most important thing is that most of these children are now healthy and are walking in the walk with their parents.
Ron Reed of Granby said "It's fabulous to see so many people get together and walk for a cause that is near and dear to many people's hearts. It affects so many people."
And these families have one message for parents whose babies who were born too soon or too sick.
Don't lose hope.
Tiffany Gleason of Chicopee said "We try and come back just to let everybody see how big and how good she's been, so when people see their babies that are premature, and they see her at 4 years, hopefully it gives everybody hope."
Since 1970, March of Dimes has raised more than $2 billion through March for Babies.