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Rocklin Parents of Preemies Make Lasting Connection with Therapist




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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."





Placer County News Headlines

Recovery Happens Event in Auburn September 23Auburn, CA- This annual event celebrates people recovering from substance use or mental health concerns, highlighting their success stories

New Social Host Ordinance in AuburnAUBURN, Calif. - The Auburn City Council unanimously passed a civil social host ordinance during their city council meeting.

Versatile Hyundai Ioniq: Has EV and Hybrid modeRoseville, CA - Anyone interested in purchasing the all-new 2017 Hyundai Ioniq better be proficient at decision making

Roseville Gas Price Hikes Slow Heading into AutumnRoseville, CA- Coming off recent upticks in prices, Roseville area residents have seen prices remain relatively stable this past week.

WJU Baseball adds experience and leadership to staffROCKLIN, Calif. - William Jessup head baseball coach Jake McKinley is pleased to introduce the new coaching staff for the Warriors, bringing years of experience and leadership

Roseville Club to Host Tennis Sectional ChampionshipRoseville, CA - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Northern California Adult 55+ Tennis Sectional Championship will be arriving on Sept. 21-24

Our Most Vulnerable Residents: Expanding Medical Care & HousingThe Placer County Board of Supervisors recently approved two new components of the Whole Person Care pilot program: a medical respite unit that will provide interim care for at-risk clients leaving the hospital, along with a new agreement to purchase housing units

Animal Services Center Open House September 23Auburn, CA - Auburn, CA - The Animal Services Center in Auburn will be opening its doors Sept. 23 to welcome the public for a behind-the-scenes look at its programs and facility

Sierra Pregnancy & Health Expands OfferingsRoseville, CA) - Sierra Pregnancy & Health (SPH) recently announced plans to expand their health clinic by 1,500 square feet to better serve the needs

Where Does William Jessup University Rank?The U.S. News & World Report 2018 college rankings are out. Where does Rocklin based William Jessup rank?

Placer Community Foundation Awards $33,000 in Grants to Serve Local YouthLincoln, CA - Eight local nonprofits that provide valuable services for youth recently received grants from the Giving Circle at Placer Community Foundation

Julie Teel joins Raley's Board of Directors West Sacramento, CA --- Raley's Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Teel as a new Director, effective immediately.


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