COUNTRY CLUB VILLAGE, Mo. — The band of 3-year-olds playfully roam their back yard, bouncing from the miniature slide and swing set to the pool and patio.
As one member of the brood escapes to a neighbor’s yard, Mary Kay Thrasher describes the boundless energy of her triplets, Grant, Tyler and Carly.
“They’re just absolutely normal 3-year-olds,” said the Country Club Village mother as she chased after the renegade toddler. “They’re faster than lightning.”
Watching the children now, Mrs. Thrasher can hardly believe that their health and development were once at risk. The triplets were born eight weeks premature and underweight in 1996.
“There’s always that concern, when they’re born eight weeks early, of their lung development,” Mrs. Thrasher said.
After four weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit and the help of Surfactant, a drug developed through March of Dimes’ research, the triplets’ physical and mental growth have stayed on track, Mrs. Thrasher said. Surfactant aids the development of babies’ lungs.
“I feel like I should give back something because they are now so healthy,” Mrs. Thrasher said.
To show her gratitude, Mrs. Thrasher will walk Saturday in the 29th-annual March of Dimes’ WalkAmerica. The event’s aim is to raise money to support the prevention of birth defects and infant mortality, and help babies such as the Thrashers’, said Randi Banker, director of the March of Dimes’ St. Joseph division.
“These were babies that were born too small and too soon,” Ms. Banker said. “These babies’ lives were saved through money raised by our walkers.”
Mrs. Thrasher said she only now realizes the full extent of her appreciation.
“I would like for all babies to be born as healthy as mine have been,” she said.
WalkAmerica will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday in Hyde Park. Registration is at 9 a.m.