Jadon Cleveland named Ambassador Child

Published 12:14 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

The March of Dimes has named 5-month-old Jadon Cleveland of Demopolis as its Ambassador Child for this year.

Jadon is the son of Jimmy “Chip” and Constance Cleveland. He was born three months premature in March.

Constance Cleveland, a second-grade teacher at Westside Elementary School, talked about the special needs a premature baby has.

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“Cleanliness is very important,” she said. “While he was in the hospital, he was on a ventilator, and he was in an incubator. He stayed that was for two of the four months that he was in the hospital. He came off the ventilator first, and then, when he was breathing on his own, he moved out of the incubator on June 17, actually on our anniversary.”

Born in Demopolis, Jadon was transferred to Princeton Hospital in Birmingham, then to UAB Hospital.

“The March of Dimes is really big at UAB,” Constance said. “They did Bravery Beads, which is: everything that he went through, he got a bead to make a necklace. They also sold ready-made beads for parents for support. The March of Dimes also had books for parents. The biggest thing was the kind of care that he got, because the March of Dimes specializes in premature babies.”

Constance said Jadon’s lungs were underdeveloped at birth, and he had to go through therapy to help him learn to breath.

“His lungs were sticky,” Constance said. “They wouldn’t inflate or deflate on their own; they would stick together. They asked us not to take him out into big crowds for the fear of infection and to limit the visitors that we have.

“He will have surgery in October. He had two different types of hernias, which they told me was common for premature babies. All of the other surgeries they said he might have to have, he did not have to have, so he’s doing pretty good. He’s just smaller. He still has a personality, he still coos and laughs.”

Jennifer Thompson, the area director of the March of Dimes, talked about how Jadon Cleveland can help other premature babies get the special care they need through the March of Dimes.

“He is such a wonderful candidate for the Ambassador Child,” she said. “Premature births is one of main focuses for the March of Dimes, trying to get resources to health departments and to hospitals to help them with prenatal care and to make women aware that it is so important that they have prenatal care to help reduce their chances of having a premature baby.”

Thompson said that 1 in every 6 infants in the United States is born with a low birth weight or preterm.

As the Ambassador Child, Jadon Cleveland will lead the March of Dimes Walk on Oct. 10 and will ride in the Christmas on the River day parade to represent the March of Dimes.

To collect for the March of Dimes Walk or to take part, contact Thompson at 289-3654.