Signature Chefs event raises money and awareness to fight premature birth

Local News

The capital city’s best chefs join forces with March of Dimes to support the fight to end premature birth.

Every year the Signature Chefs event honors a mother that has been through the fight of having a premature birth. Thursday night they honored, Melissa Kitchell.

Just three and a half months into her pregnancy, Melissa Kitchell had her first child. Wyatt Kitchell was born weighing 2 pounds and 5 ounces.

“I don’t think I can put into words how difficult it is for a mother to have that be her first experience entering parenthood,” Melissa Kitchell said.

Batson Children’s Hospital became her home for the next 100 days, as doctors fought to keep her son alive.

Kitchell and her husband remained hopeful even knowing the long list of obstacles premature babies face.

“It’s everything from cerebral palsy, to hearing loss, to retinopathy, and major digestive disorders, as well as physical impairments. Some might not be able to learn to walk or talk,” she explained.

Now her son, Wyatt is two years old and proof that through medical research and awareness premature babies can have a long healthy life.

“He is just a typical two year old. He is running and he’s talking and he’s all over the place, and I don’t think that there is a bigger blessing as parents we could have received,” Kitchell said.

However not every family is this lucky, which is why March of Dimes continues to raise money and awareness for lifesaving research.  

Mississippi’s preterm birth rate is at a shocking 13.6 percent, the highest in the nation.

Even then Kitchell says she most definitely wants to have another baby.

“Of course we absolutely want another child. I think we have so much love with Wyatt and we would love to have another baby, and I think the beauty of what this organization can do is give hope to moms like me, who don’t know why they went in to preterm labor, so for the next child they can look into factors that might have contributed,” she explained.

WJTV 12’s Melanie Christopher emceed this Caring for Mississippi event.

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