Tallahassee family remembers fear, uncertainty around child born prematurely

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
April 26, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Happening this weekend in the capital city, a three-mile walk to raise money for healthy babies. The March for Dimes' March for Babies Walk kicks off at the Pavilion at the Center of Tallahassee on Saturday at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

The community will join hands to give all infants a chance at a healthy start in life.

A Tallahassee family knows the importance of it all too well.

Layla Gaskin is named after the famous boxer Laila Ali and she was born a fighter.

“She was like a day old before I realized 'oh my gosh’, I have a premature baby," Layla’s mother, Dykira Gaskin, explained.

Layla weighed just one pound and four ounces at birth and her mother was not quite six months pregnant when she went into labor.

"When you're in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), all you really think about is everyday; 'Am I going to have a baby to take home? Is she going to be okay?'" Dykira said.

However, her successful birth was just the beginning of a rollercoaster ride.

"You take two steps forward, you take three steps back because premies struggle. But one thing that I always tell people is that they're born fighting," Dykira reminisced.

Layla spent seven months in the hospital before she could go home with her family.

“During that time we were in the NICU, we got a lot of support with like gas cards because by then, we were traveling to Gainesville. They gave us dinners and things like that, so we wanted to give back some kind of way," Dykira said.

Now, little Layla is a healthy, energetic five-year old and the official ambassador of the Tallahassee March of Dimes March for Babies Walk.

Layla said her favorite thing to do with her dad is MARCH!

"She means so much to me. She's our first child, and she's just full of energy and she’s just a very good girl and we love her to death," Layla’s dad said as he and his daughter bonded on a park bench.

Her parents love her, and she loves life and now nearly five years later, Layla’s has hit the ground running.

Playing and laughing; two things she said she loves to do.

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