Hi, my name is Laura Sweet. Our family lives in Maine and we have a seven-year-old son, Henry, and a four-year-old daughter, Jane. Jane was born in November 2014 with congenital CMV, the most common viral cause of birth defects and the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss. Behind Jane's bright blue eyes and big smile is one of the most determined, strong-willed kids you'll ever meet. I hope to tap into her spirit every step of the way along these 26.2 miles in NYC. This will be my first (and likely only?!) marathon – I can’t think of anything as motivating or important as raising awareness of CMV and supporting the National CMV Foundation.
I am one of the 91% of women who had never heard of CMV, and wasn't told about its risks or simple precautionary measures I should take during pregnancy. CMV caused damage to Jane's brain, one of her eyes, and left her profoundly deaf. Jane has bilateral cochlear implants and has made incredible progress thanks to lots of hard work and amazing early intervention services.
The National CMV Foundation has been an invaluable resource for me and countless other women and families faced with the devastating impacts of this common, preventable virus. The organization was founded and is led by inspiring women/mom advocates who are the driving force behind CMV awareness, newborn screening, and vaccine development efforts. I am so proud to be part of the Compete 4 CMV NYC Marathon team and hope to surpass my $4,000 fundraising goal. I would really appreciate your help! Please consider donating any amount and spread the word far and wide.
And if you’d like to learn more about Jane’s story and our advocacy efforts in Maine, you can read my post on the National CMV Foundation blog or read this NY Times article that features our family. You can also check out the local Portland WMTW ABC news clip above.