NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Sunday morning, thousands of people will take to the streets in an effort to raise money for the March of Dimes and its goal to stop premature births.

It seems everyone connected to the cause has a very personal story.

Pam Lookatch, Bryan Lookatch and their 10-year-old daughter, Emma, joined CBS2’s Diane Macedo in-studio to share theirs.

“Emma was born on Jan. 28, 2005 — 10 years ago — at 1 pound, 7 ounces, 12 inches long and micro-preemie at the time,” Pam said.

Pam was pregnant for 28 weeks when she gave birth to Emma.

The mother said that thanks to the March of Dimes, Emma was given shots to help open her lungs.

“Her breathing was good, but she was super small and just needed to grow in the NICU and not get sick,” Pam said. “Unfortunately, she did get sick in the NICU, and we had a six-month stay, which was a very extended stay, which really every day was a painful journey.”

The March of Dimes’ March for Babies steps off Sunday at Lincoln Center to raise money for research and treatment with the goal of stronger, healthier babies. Emma serves as an ambassador for the fundraiser.

“It’s a wondeful cause, first and foresmost,” Bryan Lookatch said. “As we tell our friends, we’ve really seen where the proceeds go.

“When you kind of live through the benefits of a cause like that, it becomes much more impactful to you. And it’s really become, for us, a family celebration every year in April of Emma’s toughness and her perserverance.”

For more information on the March for Babies, visit MarchForBabies.org.

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