Long Island Preemie Baby Overcomes Challenges and Chosen as Walk Grand Marshal

Parents Start Walk Team in Honor of Child to Help Raise Funds for Other Children with Special Needs at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children

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On April 16th, 2004, Aidan Gebhard was brought into the world fighting for his life. Weighing a little more than 1 pound, Aidan was born more than 3 months before his full due date.

Ron & Lajja, Aidan's parents, brought the fragile little boy to St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children where he began receiving innovative therapies and specialized medical care to help him overcome the common challenges associated with premature birth.

Nearly half a million babies are born prematurely every year and the number continues to rise. Although Ron and Lajja knew about premature births, they never thought they would experience it first-hand.

"We are grateful to all the doctors and nurses for the vigilant care given to him, and St Mary's for providing us with intensive rehabilitation services," said Lajja.

Today, 7-year old Aidan is growing with leaps and bounds and was chosen as one of the Grand Marshals for the 7th Annual Walk for St. Mary's on Sunday, May 22nd at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.

"This is a great cause and we want to help other children with special needs receive the care they need and deserve at St. Mary's, the same way our little Aidan did," said Lajja.

That's why Ron and Lajja were also motivated to start, "Aidan's Team" and is helping to raise funds and awareness for other children and families at St. Mary's battling complex medical and life-limiting conditions due to serious illness, injury of complications of premature birth.

In New York State, where the rate of premature births is just under the national average, St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children has been one of the pioneers of programs specifically designed to help premature infant's live longer and healthier lives through a comprehensive network of inpatient, community and homecare programs.

Aidan is a healthy little boy who loves spending time with his family and can't wait to help lead the 1/2 mile and 2.5 mile walk at Belmont Park.

Walkers will gather at Belmont Park on Sunday, May 22nd to walk for St. Mary's Kids. The day will include the New York AutoFest car show featuring customs, classic, muscles and rarely seen vehicles. Meet & greet Team Jilli Dog, the World's only poker-playing dog. Enjoy all the free family fun day activities including games, face painting, arts & crafts and live entertainment. Lots of surprises for the entire family including Pirate Day hosted by Belmont Park featuring pirate-themed inflatables, henna tattoo artists, pony rides, a petting zoo and more!