WESTON, Conn. -- Weston resident Marisela Esposito lost twin daughters at 21 weeks 15 years ago and her son, Dante, now 13, was born prematurely at 25.3 weeks weighing one pound, 15 ounces..
Dante now plays travel hockey as a forward and is a pitcher and third basemen on his baseball team - and growing like a weed -- and she's on the Board of Directors as well as President Elect and Events Co-Chair and a mentor of The Tiny Miracles Foundation (TTMF), an organization dedicated to helping families with premature babies.
She said raising awareness of the challenges premature babies and their families go through is why she got involved. "It's because of my life experiences that I know this work is so important," she said.
Esposito, along with Co-Chairs Carrie Cromwell-Hunt, of Westport, and Valerie Saltzman of Monroe, and other committee members, are now busy planning their annual gala, "Club Miracles" set for Friday, May 6 at the Inn at Longshore in Westport. Esposito said this is the second year the event, long held in Darien, is taking place in Westport which helps increase the organization's community involvement and expand awareness of its mission and programs.
The foundation, now in its 11th year, works with families throughout Fairfield County, starting in the NICU at Stamford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital and Danbury Hospital. "Our many mentor volunteers know how very isolating the NICU roller-coaster ride can be and we understand what these parents are going through. We're there to offer support and hope" said Esposito.
That includes sometimes going "above and beyond," as the mentors have done with a few families where she said, money was needed for burial or, in one situation, where a mom and dad of twin preemie's were living in a tent in a park and TTMF helped find them appropriate shelter. "A lot of friendships have been formed as a result of this kind of volunteer work," she said.
Knowing her life could have gone a different way, Esposito said: "I do what I do because of my blessings from my son. In doing so it has helped me heal from my loss." She is currently working with her son on the importance of giving back.
Go to www.ttmf.org/ for more information.
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