ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Many families are losing their little ones before bringing them home.
That's according to a recent March of Dimes study that said that the pre-term birth rate has increased for the second year in a row.
An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born prematurely each year and more than 1 million of them do not survive their early birth.
"Not only am I not able to bring him home, I'm never going to be able to bathe him again, but now I actually have to plan his funeral," said Co-Creator of Noah's Wings Mary Maynard.
That was the first thought that ran through Maynard's mind last October when she was told her 8-day-old son Noah was not going to survive.
"He was in the NICU for a total of 8 days. It was crazy because we had several days where we got wonderful news," said Maynard.
Noah was born 4 weeks early so his lungs were not fully developed. He later suffered a seizure that led to his death.
"I remember leaving the hospital and just knowing that I wasn't ready for anybody to find out and I told my entire family I don't want you to post anything. I'm not ready to grieve with the entire world," said Maynard.
After mourning privately, the heartbroken Maynard created the non-profit organization, Noah's Wings, to remember her son and honor the many sons and daughters who have died before their time.
"I can't think of anything else I would want to do than to just be with Mary through this. Noah's Wings is blessing other people," said Nancy Petty, friend and boss of Maynard.
The organization has raised over $1,500 dollars for March of Dimes and will participate Saturday in a 5k walk to continue the fight.
"I absolutely had to continuously find ways to honor him and give back to the Phoebe Putney NICU and of course to help other babies like him and other parents," said Maynard.
The March of Dimes walk will be held at Albany State University's West campus beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
There will also be a Children's Super Hero Sprint for kids.
Noah's Wings is planning to give 'blessing bags' to needy families in June.