By Katie Lovett Features Editor
Newburyport Daily News
---- — Newburyport’s Linda Larcome is grateful, and she wants everyone to know it.
Larcome’s granddaughter Kiarie Leonard is an 18-year-old senior at Scarborough, Maine, High School who will graduate in June. But when the girl was born, that future seemed hard to imagine.
A preemie, Kiarie was born three months early and weighed only 1 pound, 14 ounces. Her weight quickly dropped to 1 pound, 5 ounces. It took her two months to reach the weight of two pounds.
“She was due at Thanksgiving and she was born Aug. 20,” Larcome said.
Under the care and treatment from the doctors and nurses working in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Kiarie began to grow and thrive.
Today, “she is 100 percent healthy,” Larcome said.
Now, Larcome and her husband want to give something back to the hospital that cared for their granddaughter. Linda and Jay Larcome are hosting a fundraiser for the NICU at the Maine Medical Center tomorrow night at the Elks Hall on Low Street in Newburyport. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. The Country Western Night will include food, raffles and a dance-off. All funds will go to the NICU to purchase equipment and to fund research for preventing premature birth.
Kiarie’s mother, Melissa Savage-DiClemente, was born in Newburyport and grew up in Newbury. Kiarie was born while her mother was serving in the Navy and was stationed in Brunswick, Maine. She is now a police officer for the Scarborough Police Department.
Tickets — in the form of wristbands — are $20. They can be purchased at the door, or in advance at the Newburyport Harbor Marina Ship’s Store, Mindi’s Hair Salon on Merrimac Street in Newburyport, and the West Newbury Food Mart on Route 113 in West Newbury.