Ambassadors named for the 2017 March for Babies

LIHUE — The Morales family and the Strickland family are representing the Kauai March for Babies this year at Lydgate Park.

Christine Morales gave birth to Silas on March 10, 2015 at only 28 weeks weighing in at just over three pounds. Normal pregnancies are between 40 and 42 weeks. Silas stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 63 days.

Natassja Strickland was pregnant with her third child and was hoping this pregnancy would not be shortened. Her first two children, Kyssja and Kiarah, were also premature. It was not to be as Natassja was also taken to Kapiolani, where Keanu was born on February 10 at only 27 weeks, weighing in at only one pound, nine ounces. He spent a total of 15 weeks in the NICU.

It was during this stay at Kapiolani that Natassja and Christine became friends. The March of Dimes has many volunteers to assist moms who are resting at the hospital and those who babies are staying in the NICU until they are strong enough to go home. The volunteers work to help provide a support network for the families. This year’s Ambassador Families are a result of that effort.

Both moms, Silas, and Keanu will be on hand at the March for Babies “Team Captain Kickoff” 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. February 23 at Kukui Grove Starbucks.

Anyone who would like to start a Family Team, Company Team, or is already registered can come by to pick up a Team Captain packet and meet the Ambassador Family. Event coordinator Juno Apalla will be on hand to assist with registration and answer questions about the walk.

Also, the 2017 campaign has two honorary March for Babies chairs: Justin Kollar, Kauai County prosecuting attorney, and Dr. Kaci Manion of The Specific Chiropractic Center.

“Having such prestigious Kauai people as chairs for the walk will certainly help the event grow,” Apalla said. “We are looking forward to working them both.”

The March of Dimes on Kauai helps local families such as the Morales and Strickland family when a pregnancy is headed to a premature delivery.

Any baby born prematurely can have under developed lungs which can lead to respiratory problems, shallow breathing, and pneumonia.

Many like both Silas and Kenau have breathing difficulties.

Other complications such as blood infections, digestive distress, and more health issues make it difficult for our smallest keiki to survive.

The March of Dimes has been helping families have healthy babies for over 75 years. With continued research, equipment, and volunteer support, families: Moms, dads, and babies such as these two healthy boys were able to benefit from the support and medical advances the March of Dimes provides.

Christine and Natassja hadn’t seen each other in almost two years but have now joined together to represent the Kauai March for Babies.

“They were each other’s support system throughout their stay at the Women & Children Center at Kapiolani while both babies were in the NICU,” according to a press release. “With each other and the support of the March of Dimes, two families are raising happy, healthy boys.”

The March for Babies walk is April 8 and begins with the opening ceremony and Zumba at 7:30 then the walk kicks off at 8 a.m. with registration at 6:45 a.m. — all at Lydgate Park in the main pavilion.

“We’ll have prizes, food, games, and more for all our walkers and of course we’ll be raising money to help families just like the our Ambassador Families,” Apalla said.

For more information on the Team Captain Kickoff or the March for Babies walk on April 8, or sponsorship opportunities, call Apalla at 634-5840 or e-mail To register, visit


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