One in 10 babies are born premature, and nearly one million of premature babies die each year due to complications related to preterm birth, according the World Health Organization.
And the figures are rising each year.
World Prematurity Day, which aims to raise awareness about preterm births, was on Tuesday. Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist opened up to WBTV about his own premature birth. Kidd-Gilchrist was born 10 weeks early. He was 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
"I don’t remember anything because I was so little," Kidd-Gilchrist told WBTV. "It’s just part of me, just in my heart."
Kidd-Gilchrist is known to be very involved in the Charlotte community, and last year reached out to Bee Mighty, a nonprofit organization in the city that helps families with preemies get the care and resources they need. Children were invited to Time Warner Cable Arena, where Kidd-Gilchrist played with each and every kid and spoke to their parents about their experiences. It's a heart-warming story.
Heather Hucks, who is part of Bee Mighty, told WBTV how incredible Kidd-Gilchrist's story is.
"I don’t think he knows how unique he is," she said. "There aren’t a lot of stories out there about kids who are born early but end up in athletics."
Kidd-Gilchrist is known for his intensity, effort, and drive in the NBA, but he's been relying on those same traits since birth.
Good on you, MKG.