LEWISTON – The Central Maine Medical Family and the March of Dimes are working together to celebrate National Prematurity Awareness Day on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The event is part of an ongoing effort to focus greater public awareness on the problem of infant prematurity.

With the support of several area businesses, Central Maine Medical Center and the March of Dimes will bathe the Great Falls on the Androscoggin River with pink and blue lights beginning at 5 p.m.

Rumford Hospital will light the Androscoggin River falls below the reflecting pool and Bridgton Hospital will light its campus in pink and blue. CMMC and Rumford Hospital will also light their campuses.

Nov. 14 has been proclaimed Prematurity Awareness Day to bring attention to the leading cause of death in the first month of life. According to the March of Dimes, the incidence of premature babies increased from 7.3 percent to 9.9 percent between 1991 and 2001, with the incidence of low birthweight babies growing from 5.4 percent to 6 percent during the same period. Other organizations throughout the nation are also observing Prematurity Awareness Day.

Prior to the Great Falls lighting, Central Maine Medical Center’s Neonatal Intermediate Care Unit will host a reception for the families who have been served by the facility since its founding in the late 1970s.

CMMC’s Neonatal Intermediate Care Unit opened in June 1977 to provide care for sick and high-risk newborns, including those born prematurely or with a low birthweight. Since its establishment, the facility has served thousands of families. The special care unit’s staff includes two physicians, neonatologists, who are trained to serve the unique needs of these diminutive patients. Also serving on the NICU staff are specially-trained nurses.

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