Barely 1lb at birth, 5-yr-old Ava now helping others survive - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Barely 1lb at birth, 5-yr-old Ava now helping others survive

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Looking at 5-year-old Ava Hopings today, you would never know this energetic child almost didn't make it.

She was born 13 weeks early, weighing just over a pound and survived a severe brain hemorrhage that doctors feared could permanently disable her, leaving her unable to walk or talk. 

Ava does have mild cerebral palsy, but she'll be ready for kindergarten in the fall.

Ava and her parents are this year's Toledo ambassador family for the March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to preventing premature births and helping premature babies.

Sunday morning kicked off their biggest fundraiser, the Walk For Babies. More than 3,000 friends and family members came together to raise money. The money raised will go to prevent premature birth, infant death and birth defects.

13abc's Shaun Hegarty was on hand as people hit the streets to show their support for babies.

Moms like Trisha Deal who was walking for her 7-month-old son Owen. He was born nine weeks early and has to wear a helmet. His mother explained, "Because he was in the NICU for awhile, he got a flat spot. Basically, it's to help mold it back to round."

In Northwest Ohio, one in eight babies is born prematurely.

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