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Montefiore in the News

June 17, 2021

Father’s Love Helped Save Life of Bronxite Born Prematurely 20 Years Ago June 17, 2021

They say a girl’s first true love is her father, and for a young lady in the Bronx, her father’s love may have saved her life. 

When Skye Saunders came into the world 20 years ago, she was born prematurely at 24 weeks and only weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces. 

"During that time, it was very difficult for myself and for my wife. It's our first child, and her being born that early at six months, it was very trying for us,” said Lionel Saunders, her father.  Saunders spent the first 12 weeks of her life inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where her parents came to visit her every day. 

"It's definitely a blessing, to have both of my parents, but especially my dad to check up on me, it was really amazing to see that looking back at the pictures,” said Skye Saunders. 

Her doctors say that at the time, she only had a 40% chance of surviving and that with her father’s love and support, she was able to make it back home safe and sound. 

"Skye's dad, Lionel Saunders, was really one of the dads who from the beginning, although certainly scared of this little baby who barely fit in his hand, was very actively involved and engaged,” said Dr. Deborah Campbell.  Skye’s father says that 20 years down the line, her father is still there to support her every step of the way.  For this Father’s Day, she says she plans to show her appreciation for her dad by taking him out to a restaurant, along with her mom Nicole and brother LJ. 

She is now pursuing a degree in journalism and history.