Editor's note: Danza Thompson of Alexandria was selected as the ambassador for this year's March of Dimes' Jail and Bail. This is her story.
Randy and Christa Thompson of Alexandria were so excited to learn they were pregnant with twins and couldn't wait to meet them on April 7, 2007, their due date.
Complications forced Christa to deliver the baby girls just 23 weeks and four days into her pregnancy.
Danza Lee weighed just over 1 pound and was 11 inches long. Her parents' wedding rings were giant bracelets on her little feet. Her sister, Joely Joy, was born weighing just 15 ounces.
Christa was in shock when she saw them, hooked up to so many machines, the experience was heart wrenching.
After three weeks, their precious Joely Joy could not fight any longer. She passed away in Christa's arms.
"After we returned to the hospital from Joely's funeral," said Christa, "I had a meeting with the doctors and told them I was not leaving without Danza in my arms. They had to do everything they could for my little girl."
Danza spent nearly four months in the hospital, undergoing four surgeries before she was able to come home with her family in Alexandria.
The March of Dimes pioneered the concept of specialized care for sick newborns and pushed for NICUs in hospitals around the country. The Thompson family is forever grateful to the March of Dimes for funding research and programs to understand and prevent premature birth.
Despite some continuing medical problems, Danza loves to ride bikes, play T-ball and play outside with her cousins. Danza is a 2-1/2 year-old girl who loves to make people laugh.
"Every doctor who sees her and learns about her story is in complete awe of her," said Christa. "Miracles happen. You just have to believe!"