Miracle baby gets new lease on life

Miracle baby gets new lease on life
Christian Sanchez of Agawam was born 1 pound, 10 ounces and spent 102 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital Boston before going home for the first time.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
Feb. 14, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron
Assistant Editor

AGAWAM — Christian Sanchez, 2, has more gumption and grit to survive than most people decades his senior.

Sanchez was born 15 weeks early, weighing just 1 pound, 10 ounces. He fought through three life-saving surgeries within the first 12 days of his life and lived the next three months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children's Hospital Boston before finally seeing his home for the first time.

Today, Sanchez is a typical 2-year-old who loves Mickey Mouse, playing with toy cars and getting into things he shouldn't, according to his parents, Chris and Debbi Sanchez. Christian's incredible story of survival inspired the March of Dimes Western Massachusetts Division to name the Sanchez family as this year's ambassadors.

"I can't think of a more worthy or deserving family to be our 2011 March of Dimes Ambassador Family," Kristin Introvigne, division director, said. "Christian's story is truly one of the most inspirational stories that I have heard during my time with the March of Dimes. Christian overcame such odds to be where he is today, a happy and healthy little toddler. He is truly a miracle baby. When you meet Christian today, you would never be able to tell that he had such a tumultuous start to life."

Christian Sanchez is a happy, healthy 2-year-old today, thanks to the life-saving treatment he received at Children's Hospital Boston and medical advances funded by the March of Dimes
Reminder Publications submitted photo
Chris and Debbi praised the March of Dimes for funding critical research vital to their son's survival and the survival of other children born prematurely. While at Children's Hospital Boston, Christian was given an experimental drug — funded by a grant from the March of Dimes — called Omegaven. The drug cured his parenteral nutrition-associated liver disease caused by being fed intravenously in the NICU.

"The results have been amazing! Christian's liver disease is gone and he's not alone! Many children have been saved by Omegaven and it is, in part, because the March of Dimes recognized the importance of this drug and helped to fund its research," Debbi said.

Chris added, "Not only is this drug revolutionary in helping kids but the March of Dimes funded this right here in Massachusetts, which has the potential to change the treatment [methods] of children born prematurely throughout the world."

While at his young age Christian does not comprehend the significance associated with representing the March of Dimes as an ambassador, Debbi said she and her husband would make sure he does once he's old enough to understand.

"We are honored to be named this year's March of Dimes Ambassador Family for the Pioneer Valley," Debbi said. "We are excited to work with such a dedicated organization and help raise awareness and monies for research so that all babies can have a healthy start in life."

The Sanchez family will represent the March of Dimes at several events throughout the region, including KIX 97.9's Concert for Babies on March 18 at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton and at the annual March for Babies at Springfield's Forest Park on April 16.

"Our team, 'Christian's Crusaders,' will be there marching and anyone who would like to walk with us or donate is welcome to do so at www.marchforbabies.org," Debbi said.

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