NEC Society Board of Directors Gives Full-Term Cardiac NEC Families a Seat at the Table

The NEC Society is dedicated to building a world without necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). While NEC often impacts babies born prematurely, the NEC Society’s patient-families have helped us to understand that NEC also affects babies born full-term, with congenital heart defects, or other medical complications. Accordingly, we are delighted to welcome Melissa Dlugolecki to the NEC Society’s Board of Directors.

After spending a decade in education, Melissa founded two businesses after losing her daughter Leyden to NEC. Specializing in emotional growth and gut health, Melissa is the CEO of Thrive with Mel-DL and Co-CEO of MOVE. with Mooch&Mel. Through life coaching, she assists others in successfully navigating difficult life transitions and transformation. Additionally, Melissa teaches holistic health and the application of gut health to help others feel more energized, sleep better, and achieve better performance. She is also the host of the podcast, Grief, Guts, and Green Smoothies. Of all her titles, Melissa’s favorite title is Leyden’s Mom.

Jennifer Canvasser, fellow bereaved mother and founder/director of the NEC Society, shares, “We are thrilled to welcome Melissa to our Board. Melissa’s experience and expertise will help to propel our vision of preventing NEC and building a world without this devastating disease.”

Melissa’s daughter was born in a planned delivery at 39 weeks with a known and “relatively simple” form of congenital heart disease with a 97% chance of survival. There was never a mention or worry about NEC. Like Jennifer and other families impacted by NEC, Melissa wonders if Leyden’s outcome would have been different if she knew Leyden was at increased risk of NEC and was informed about the associated risks or protective factors. Melissa shares, “I am eager to honor Leyden by helping the NEC Society find ways to prevent the preventable. I look forward to being part of a team that’s committed to improving outcomes for our most vulnerable babies and helping parents keep their little ones in their arms.”

The NEC Society is currently designing a research project on full-term cardiac NEC that has evolved from discussions at the NEC Symposium. Melissa, Jennifer, and fellow NEC Society Board Member Amena Mebane, will work hand in hand with the NEC Society’s Scientific Advisory Council to lead this full-term cardiac NEC project. Stay tuned for more details!

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a devastating intestinal disease that primarily affects premature and medically fragile infants. The NEC Society was established in 2014 and is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world without NEC.

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