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Pictured are Brad and Erin Maulucci with their two sons, Matthew, left, and Christopher. (Submitted photo)

Hastings family to represent March of Dimes for Babies

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A Hastings family has been chosen to be the face of the Red Wing March for Babies walk, a part of March of Dimes. Brad and Erin Maulucci and their two children Matthew and Christopher are the event's Ambassador Family this year.

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The Mauluccis got involved with March for Babies last year, after Christopher's premature birth.

Now 19 months old, Christopher was born three months premature. It was about 10 p.m. when Erin started feeling like something was off. She and Brad woke up Matthew and went to the hospital here in Hastings. They thought they would be able to stop the contractions, Brad said, but they couldn't, so they were transported to United Hospital in St. Paul. The medical staff at United told them Christopher would be born in days, not weeks like they expected.

"It gave me goose bumps," Erin said.

At just 26 weeks, Christopher was born by emergency C-section. He was one pound, 15 ounces. It still seems surreal, Erin said, thinking back on the event. She remembered waking up not knowing if her son was okay.

"I was the first one to see him," Brad said.

But Christopher needed extra care right away, so Brad and Erin couldn't spend much time with him. The waiting made him feel helpless, Brad said. For a while he couldn't see his wife, either, as she recovered from surgery. The only thing he had to hold onto was the news from the doctors that they were happy with how his son was doing.

Later on they were allowed into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Staff wheeled Erin in on her bed to see her baby, and they got to hold his tiny hand. That night, others in their family got to see him.

"Nobody even knew what to do," Erin said.

Erin spent five days in the hospital and two weeks on bed rest. Christopher spent 76 days in the NICU. He had to have surfactant therapy to coat his lungs and prevent them from collapsing and sticking shut - effects of respiratory distress syndrome.

These days, Christopher is doing well. He has some lung issues, but his parents and doctors are hoping those will go away soon.

"We feel very blessed and fortunate," Erin said.

Getting involved with the March for Babies was a way to raise awareness and support the organizations research efforts.

"One of our biggest reasons for supporting the March of Dimes is to help raise awareness about prematurity and help raise money to fund their research so that other families may not have to go through the experience of having a premature baby," Erin said.

March of Dimes funding has helped discover a master gene that controls prenatal development, develop NICU treatment to prevent serious intestinal problems in premature babies, improve folic acid to prevent birth defects, develop the surfactant therapy and more.

After participating in the walk last year, a coworker of a high school friend of Erin's heard their story and nominated the Mauluccis to be the Ambassador Family.

"We were very honored," Brad said.

"We're pretty excited to be able to share our story," Erin said.

As the Ambassador Family, the Mauluccis are the face of the walk this year. Their story gives the walk a real experience to rally around. Their family is pictured on fliers and they'll speak at the event and cut the starting ribbon.

Local fundraiser

The Mauluccis are working to raise funds for this year's walk and are hoping Hastings area residents will help. The team, CREW Christopher (Cherishing Really Early Wee ones) is holding a craft beer and wine tasting with a silent auction from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at the Green Mill Event Center. Tickets are $25 and available at Green Mill in Hastings, Coborn's Liquor Store or by calling 651-283-8508. All proceeds will go to March of Dimes.

The Red Wing March for Babies will be held at Colvill Park in Red Wing April 29. More information can be found online at marchforbabies.org or by calling March of Dimes at 507-282-0649.

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Katrina Styx
Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
(651) 319-4501
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