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On November 5th, 2009, our daughter Ava arrived 11 weeks early weighing 2 pounds 11 ounces.  A fighter from the get-go, she quickly let everyone around her know that she was no wall flower.  As days turned into weeks turned into months in the NICU, Ava faced many challenges, including jaundice, multiple infections, surgery to eliminate her severe reflux, and most significantly, difficulty breathing on her own due to the prematurity of her lungs.  Starting on a breathing machine called a 
​C-PAP, Ava “graduated” to a nasal cannula just after the new year.  Although progress was slow, eventually there was talk of her coming home, albeit on oxygen, a feeding tube, and multiple monitors.  Regardless we were thrilled.  And then, one week before she was due to come home, Ava’s health took a severe turn.  Her heart rate increased dangerously, and her blood oxygen levels dropped severely.  Within hours she was on a ventilator.  One week later, on May 24th, the day that she had been scheduled to come home, we said goodbye to our brave and beautiful daughter.  Although her time with us was far too short, the impact she made on all those who met her was significant.  Her spirit, her courage and her smile are still with us every day.

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You are invited to participate in a special yoga fundraising event, Prana for Preemies, at Unity Woods Yoga on Saturday, November 5th.  Three donation yoga classes will be held for children and parents to spend time together in a meaningful way, while supporting a wonderful cause. A nutrition class will also be held for parents to learn about the importance of "eating a rainbow" in helping their little ones grow and thrive.  All proceeds will go to the Ava Potter Pilcher Fellow Research Fund, which provides Georgetown University Hospital NICU Fellows and Residents the financial support needed to conduct research specific to BPD .  


The Ava Potter Pilcher Foundation, a charitable, tax-exempt organization, is dedicated to promoting the awareness of and research for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, or BPD. The foundation focuses its funding on organizations dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by BPD through non-partisan research and support services. The majority of the funds raised by The Ava Potter Pilcher Foundation will be for grants to other organizations. Through our event, Prana for Preemies, we hope to shed some light on this illness and help these tiny people and the people who support them breathe easier. 
Preterm births affect nearly 500,000 babies born in the U.S. each year, the  equivalent of 1 in every 8 infants.  These children often require stays in a NICU, sometimes for just a few days, sometimes for as long as several months.  A number of these infants need assistance breathing, and this can lead to chronic lung disease, also known as Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD).   Many children with BPD have long-term needs for breathing support and therapies long after they leave the NICU. ​

When: November 5th
            1:00 Family Yoga with Geneva Moss
            2:00 Family Yoga with Geneva Moss

            3:00 Teen/Tween Yoga (instructor tba)

            4:00 Nutrition Lecture: "Eating a Rainbow: Creating                   Colorful, Healthy Eating Habits for Your Children" with               Lori Bard

Where: Unity Woods Yoga Center
             5853 Cordell Avenue, PH9
             Bethesda, MD 20814

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​Learn how you can get involved with Prana for Preemies.

The Ava Potter Pilcher Foundation