Rocklin Parents of Preemies Make Lasting Connection with Therapist
When Cruz and Easton Duarte, 2-year old twins from Rocklin, were born on April 2, 2011 at Sutter Roseville's Family Birth Center, they were five weeks premature. Tiny baby Cruz weighed 4-pounds, 10-ounces and baby Easton weighed 5-pounds, 4 ounces.
Like many premature babies, they needed help with breathing and feeding after birth. Both were whisked away to the medical center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in order to receive specialized care.
Their parents, Rebecca and Andy Duarte, were overwhelmed that their baby boys were so small and helpless. They were also alarmed to learn their boys have albinism, which means their bodies can't make a normal amount of melanin, causing a lack pigment to protect their skin and eyes. While their parents have dark eyes and dark hair, both boys have blue eyes and blonde-white hair.
"The nurses were great when the boys were in the NICU and they spent a lot of time with us," said Rebecca at the recent 5th Annual NICU Reunion held at Hillsborough Park in Roseville. The reunion gathered staff and families back together to show the babies' progress since "graduating" from the NICU.
Rebecca especially remembers how respiratory therapist Dawn Smith eased the family's fears about the twins' albinism. "I have an 11-year old niece with albinism," said Smith. "I've watched her grow up and she is amazing."
Smith talked to Rebecca and Andy early on during their time in the NICU and shared information about her albino niece. She also connected the Duarte's to her sister-in-law and to web sites and support groups on albinism.
In turn, Smith fell in love with Cruz and Easton and the rest of the family. "They are incredibly special to me," she said. Smith, who visits the Duarte family at least once a year, is connected to the Duarte's by Facebook to keep up on the family's activities.
Cruz and Easton are happy and healthy toddlers. They need to wear sun glasses outdoors to protect their eyes, which are sensitive to bright light, along with hats and sunscreen to protect their fair skin, which they donned for the NICU Reunion. Sister Gabrielle and brother Ryland joined the twins at the NICU reunion, where there were activities that included crafts, bean bag toss, Diaper Derby races, big wheel races, Pirates Treasure and Lucky Lollipops.
"Dawn started out as a good resource for our family," said Rebecca. "Now she's become a family friend."
NEWS: In Case You Missed It
Placer County News HeadlinesSeniors First's Cafés Nourish Bodies and SpiritsDuring a rainy winter, when inclement weather can preclude a trip to the store or local food closet, it's important to remind the elderly and their families that there are local options available
Business Executive Fighting Lou Gehrig's DiseaseAbout five years ago, Todd Neva, now of Hancock, Michigan, began having trouble lifting his daughter from her carseat. Over time,
$226,278 Raised in Dutch Bros. Buck for Kids DayOn Friday, Dec. 5, Dutch Bros. Coffee and customers banded together to raise $226,278 for children on the company's annual Buck for Kids Day.
Roseville 5th Graders Provide Inspiration to PatientsEach month, fifth-grade students from Stoneridge Elementary School's Leadership Club visit Sutter Rehabilitation Institute (SRI) in Roseville to visit patients.
Rocklin Unified's Beleaguered Special Ed Program Seeks ChangeThe Rocklin Unified School District has contracted with WestED to perform a study on its beleaguered Special Education department.
Roseville Charity Hearts that Care Partners with Placer SIUOn December 17th, 2014, The Placer County Special Investigation Unit (SIU), a Placer County Law Enforcement Task Force comprised of State and local Placer County law enforcement
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (12.19.14)Crime report digest update for Roseville California, December 19, 2014
Food for 400,000 Meals Raised for Placer Food BankThunder Valley Casino Resort and Whitney Oaks Golf Club have collected over 50,000 pounds of food for Placer Food Bank food drive.
Rocklin Man Victim of Elder Abuse and ID TheftLaura Kirkwood, 23 years old of Sacramento, was arrested and booked at the Placer County Jail on suspicion of elder abuse and ID theft of a 74 year old Rocklin man.
Shocking Find in Colfax Storage Unit: Human RemainsA woman called the Placer County Sheriff's Office to report a foul odor coming from an abandoned storage unit that she had just purchased through an auction
Napa Valley's New Year's Eve Bash in CalistogaCome celebrate the New Year with the return of Celebrate! Napa Valley's New Year's Eve Bash on Dec. 31, 2014 at 10 p.m. in Calistoga, Calif.
Murders by Guns Continue Declining, Suicides On RiseWhile the overall death rate from firearm violence has remained unchanged for more than a decade, the patterns for suicide and homicide have changed dramatically
NEWS: In Case You Missed It