GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., — When Aaron May discovered his longtime friend had just welcomed a baby girl into the world 22 weeks premature, he immediately wanted to do something to help.
May, and Jason Sasso have been friends since the seventh grade and May knew he had to be there in his friend’s time of need.
May visited Sasso and his daughter, Isabella, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Soon after, May decided to create purple wristbands with “Isabella” on them to sell to family and friends.
“The wristbands were a small, tangible thing that people could wear on their arms and let Jason and [his wife] know we’re thinking about them,” May explained to FOX 17 News. “The response was overwhelming. It was like nothing I ever expected.”
May sold hundreds of wristbands as baby Isabella fought for her life in the NICU. Born in January 2013 around 23 weeks, she was weighed just one pound, one ounce. Sadly, she passed away after eight days.
Despite her short life, May wants to make sure Isabella’s time will have a long-lasting impact. He’s continued to sell wristbands and is also selling t-shirts in her honor. May has also partnered with the March of Dimes, to raise money for healthy moms and healthy babies everywhere.
May and his team “Walk for Isabella” will take part in the Grand Rapids “March for Babies” on Saturday. The team has raised nearly $4,000 dollars to fund the March of Dimes’ efforts to fight birth defects and premature births.
“It started as trying to do something for my friend,” said May. “What it’s kind of snowballed into, is helping other people, and that’s awesome.”
Sasso, who is also part of team “Walk For Isabella” is touched by his friend’s support and drive to remember his daughter.
“It’s been not only wonderful for me to watch as a friend, but as someone who really wanted their daughter’s 8 days to mean more than just 8 days,” said Sasso. “We felt that no matter what, [Isabella] was going to have a reverberating impact throughout a lot of lives… Everyone that met that girl was impacted.”
Sasso and May have also teamed up to launch Mi Amor LLC. The Michigan owned, Michigan operated clothing brand donates portions of every transaction to the March of Dimes and other local charities.
To learn more about May’s team, or to donate to “Walk for Isabella”, click here.
To learn more about the Grand Rapids March for Babies tomorrow on Saturday, April 27, 2013, or to find an event in your area, click here.