Ashley, Katelyn and Michael

Ashley, Katelyn and Michael

“Katelyn is the joy of our lives,” says Ashley Hall of her red-headed 5-year old. “She wouldn’t be alive today without the March of Dimes.”

Katelyn Marie Hall, from Leesburg, Virginia, was born prematurely at 25 weeks, weighing less than a pound and measuring the lengt of a ballpoint pen. “We were told she had a bout a 5 percent chance of surviving,” says her dad, Michael. In the newborn intensive care unit, Katelyn faced many challenges common to babies born too soon. After 5 long months, Ashley and Michael were finally able to bring their daughter home.

In many ways, Katelyn is a typical little girl – she loves to run, jump and climb, and play outside with her dog Sequoia. But because of her early arrival, Katelyn has developmental delays and suffers from mild cerebral palsy that affects the left side of her body. She began walking and talking late for her age and continues to work with speech, occupational and physical therapists.

“We can’t imagine life without Katelyn,” says Michael. “And we can’t imagine life without the March of Dimes.” Since 2004, the Halls have helped raise awareness of the problem of premature birth and funds for research into ways to prevent it.

As the 2009 National Ambassador, Katelyn will travel the country with her parents to share their story. And the Halls will walk in March for Babies, the March of Dimes best-loved fundraising event.