Premature baby video goes viral after Finding Nemo inspiration

A video of a premature baby born in the US has gone viral and been viewed over 15 million times.

Francis Azize was born 17 weeks early and given just a fifteen per cent chance of survival by doctors.

Weighing only one pound nine ounces, his parents were told that all the odds were against survival.

Fighting chance

Mother Maureen said: “We had the choice: do everything, or do nothing.

“We wanted to give him a chance.

“I was blown away by how tiny he was. Our wedding bands could go up his arm to his shoulder.”

In Rhode Island where Francis was born, there is a 24 week limit on abortion.

Finding Nemo

Further complications arose shortly after birth requiring Francis to have surgery.

Around this time, Maureen and father Jeffrey were sent a video of a speech by Andrew Stanton, director of the Disney Pixar film ‘Finding Nemo’.

Stanton had also been born prematurely and shared how this led to a determination to make the most of his ‘second chance at life’.

Watching the speech gave Maureen and Jeffrey fresh hope for Francis and after four months in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), he was given the all-clear to go home.

Just keep swimming

Now over a year old, Francis has reached a healthy weight and is starting to walk and speak.

A video of his first few months of life was posted on Facebook by his elated parents.

Titled ‘Just Keep Swimming’, it has led to an outpouring of appreciation and support for Francis and his battle.

“We’ve received so many other stories from people who have premature children. Some are still in the NICU and have appreciation for life after watching it.

“I think ultimately that’s been the greatest thing about sharing the video” Maureen concluded.

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