Born at 23 weeks, toddler catching up to peers

- He may need a little extra help right now, but at nearly 2-years-old, John-Luke Visnovec is working on catching up with other kids his age.

"John-Luke's doing really well. He's progressing really well. He's going to therapy. He's starting to walk a little bit," said his father, Aaron Visnovec.

John-Luke's mother, Nicole Ferrante, remembers a touch and go time for her and her baby boy.

"I had gone to the hospital at 21 weeks due to some bleeding. I had and they said I had a partial tear of my placenta meaning that the placenta was tearing away from my uterus. They ended up sending me home and telling me that most likely I wasn't going to make it to 23 weeks, which is the cutoff to when they would save a baby I guess," said Ferrante.

Nicole was determined to save her son. She put herself on bed rest.

"Ended up making it to 23 weeks. His heart rate was dropping. We got the two steroid shots to help his lungs develop more. We ended up staying in the hospital until he was born. He was born three days later," said Ferrante.

She said she owes a debt of gratitude to the March Of Dimes.

They are one of the reasons why my son survived. If he hadn't had the treatment, his lungs wouldn't be functioning," said Ferrante.

John-Luke's parents are paying it forward by talking to other families about what the March Of Dimes has meant for them.

"Sometimes it takes people to see faces like John Luke's and realize, wow, that kid would have never been here if it wasn't for that. If it wasn't for March Of Dimes doing the research that they do, he wouldn't be here," said Ferrante.

John-Luke is the ambassador for the March For Babies in Hillsborough County. It will be held Saturday, May 13 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. For more information, visit 

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