Tyler Zenko weighed only 2 pounds, 4 ounces when he was born in 2000 and spent two months at the NICU at Shands UF and AGH. On March 29, Tyler, now 7, lead a group dubbed Tyler’s Tigers on the 8.6-mile March of Dimes March for Babies. It was Tyler’s mother, Cathy Zenko, who organized family members and colleagues from the UF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities to take part in the Gainesville event. Scores of College of Medicine and Shands HeathCare employees joined more than 6,000 walkers to celebrate healthy babies, remember babies lost and help future babies have a healthy start. Money raised from the walk goes to support research and programs to prevent premature child birth.
Zenko, coordinator for education/training programs at the department of psychiatry center, said her son was born 3 months premature but is now a happy, healthy 7 ½ year old and a proud big brother of a healthy full-term brother, Spencer, 3.
“We know first hand how research can help babies like ours,” she said.
Once the official figure is released, organizers expect this year’s Walk for Babies will have raised more than $900,000, with the top fundraising team awarded to Shands Hospital with $73,239!