Chandler Cameron weighed less than 4 pounds when she was born.
She stayed in the hospital for about six weeks and has had two brain surgeries.
“But she’s tough as nails, and luckily overcame everything,” said her mother, Laurie. “We’ve been very lucky.”
Now 20, Cameron led her tie-dye clad team Saturday to help ensure other babies get the same odds she had.
“I want to help babies that are born prematurely and make sure they live long, healthy lives like me,” she said.
Cameron was one of more than 250 walkers in Saturday’s Forsyth County March for Babies.
Organized by the March of Dimes, the annual event at Otwell Middle School surpassed its $117,880 goal by nearly $3,000, said Wendy Wyatt, community director for the north Georgia chapter. Last year, it raised $114,000.
That money, she said, goes toward “research on hundreds and hundreds of disorders.
“Everything from premature birth, autism, learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s,” she said. “There are so many things it includes that people don’t even realize.
“Especially here in Georgia, we’re always higher than the national average for premature and low birth weight babies, so we’re just working together to raise money to try to eradicate some of these issues.”
Leana Norrell walked Saturday for her best friend’s nephew, a day after the one-year anniversary of his death.
“He had complications during birth,” she said. “I wanted to help all the children and the families who have been through that.
“This makes a difference and it helps a lot of people just getting through the hard times.”
Not everyone at the event Saturday walked. Some, such as the cheerleaders from South Forsyth High School, came to offer support.
The cheer squad greeted walkers and runners with water and encouragement. It was the fourth year the team has participated, said Rachael Huie, a junior.
“We had a couple of teachers at South who had premature babies and we thought this would be a great way to support the community and help them,” she said. “We love doing this every year.”