Amelia Crystal Rodriguez was born on March 24, 2017. She came into the world as a miracle; Amelia was extremely premature, born at only 24 weeks and 5 days, and weighing only 1 lb 10 oz. She endured many medical procedures and many struggles, but passed away on October 13, 2017, at only 6 1/2 months old.

As tragic as Amelia’s story is, hers is sadly one of many. Preterm birth is the leading cause of death among infants in the United States, and the Central Valley has the highest preterm birth rates in California. Across the state, the preterm birth rate is around 8.6% — however, in Fresno County, that number jumps to 10.1%, the worst in the state.

For the families of infants born premature, the road is both a huge emotional and financial hardship. The Amelia’s Angels Fund at the Central Valley Community Foundation hopes to ease some of the financial burden of the families of premature infants so they can focus on their child, not hospital costs. The fund aims to provide toys and other items for infants and children in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units (NICUs and PICUs) and financial assistance to their families to aid with costs associated with food, lodging, travel costs, or, if necessary, funeral expenses.

“We were fortunate to have the help of [our] family and friends, [but] know that not everyone is lucky enough to have the support system we had,” says Christina Rodriguez, mother of Amelia and founder of the Amelia’s Angels Fund. “[Through Amelia’s Angels] we hope to be that support system for those who need us.”

Keep scrolling for photos of Amelia Crystal Rodriguez. If you are interested in supporting Amelia’s Angels with a tax-deductible donation, please click the button to the right to donate online, or you may mail a check to:

The Central Valley Community Foundation
5260 North Palm Avenue, Suite 122
Fresno, CA 93704
Please include “Amelia’s Angels” in the memo. Make all checks payable to The Central Valley Community Foundation.

$5,770.00/day

The average cost of treatment for preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). [2011, March of Dimes]

Although we were heartbroken to lose our daughter, we had to find meaning amidst all of the heartache. We decided to start this [fund] to help those fighting the same battle Amelia and our family fought for so many months. We want to[…] provide items that children in the NICU and PICU need as well as [support] their families through [this] difficult time, whether it be help with food, gas, a place to stay, or, if needed, funeral expenses.

Christina Rodriguez

Founder, Amelia's Angels