In 2014 Anne became an Ambassador (volunteer) for the March of Dimes charity, and was invited to take a signature image for the 2014 World Prematurity Day campaign. March of Dimes is a global organization whose focus is to help mothers around the world to have full-term pregnancies and healthy newborn babies.
This is a cause that is very close to Anne’s heart, and has been for many years.
In fact, one of Anne’s most iconic images; Jack Holding Maneesha featuring a tiny premature baby cradled in strong hands was photographed in 1993.
Anne says, “Maneesha is pretty much a shining example of how a little baby can start off in such a fragile state and grow into a beautiful young woman. I have an even deeper sense of the fragility and preciousness of life now, than when I photographed Maneesha so many years ago, weighing less than 2.2 pounds. (one kilo) Maneesha was the smallest baby I had ever photographed. She was born prematurely at 28 weeks’ gestation, and was just about to leave the hospital after a long stay. I can’t imagine how emotional it must have been for Jack to hold to hold such a tiny and precious human being; watching them both was certainly one of my most moving experiences. That day was the first time Maneesha had been completely disconnected from all of her machinery, and I remember, when I settled her into Jack’s huge hands and was photographing her, the look of amazement and wonder on her mother’s face.”
Since then Anne has photographed in three other NICU (units), one in Doha, Qatar, two in Sydney Australia.
21 years after Anne’s 1st image of Maneesha and Jack, little Alfred continues this tradition in this beautiful photograph taken by Anne for the March of Dimes 2014 World Prematurity Day. Alfred was born 8 weeks premature, weighing just 2 pounds 6 ounces. This photograph was taken in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Royal North Shore hospital in Sydney Australia where Alfred was born and stayed until he well enough to be taken home.
Anne says, “Tiny baby Alfred sends a fragile and yet powerful message. The initial heart wrenching sight of such a tiny human being, quickly gives way to admiration for their sense of strength and their will to survive against all odds.”
Worldwide, more than 15 million babies are born too soon and more than one million babies die before their first birthday. Preterm birth, (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of serious and sometimes lifelong health problems, such as breathing problems, jaundice, developmental delays, vision loss and cerebral palsy.
On World Prematurity Day, observed each November 17, the March of Dimes joins with parent groups and organizations in countries around the world to raise awareness about premature birth and how it can be prevented. Research supported by March of Dimes is helping to find the cause and prevention of pre -term birth.