Chris Pratt Shares His Son’s Premature Birth Story at March of Dimes Celebration of Babies

Chris Pratt March of Dimes
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In a speech both touching and funny at Friday’s March of Dimes Celebration of Babies, Chris Pratt shared about his son Jack’s premature birth, born nine weeks early at just 3 pounds, 12 ounces. “That’s a decent-sized bass,” he said to laughs from the star-studded crowd at the Beverly Wilshire. “Very small for a human.”

“I’ve done all kinds of cool things as an actor — I’ve jumped out of helicopters and done some daring stunts and played baseball in a professional stadium, but none of it means anything compared to being somebody’s daddy,” Pratt said. While Jack was in the NICU, Pratt said he cherished moments where he’d cradle his son skin-to-skin. “I made promises in that moment about what kind of dad I wanted to be and I just prayed that he’d live long enough that I could keep them.”

Pratt and his wife Anna Faris were told that Jack may have special needs and would need cosmetic surgery to correct his eyes (“Welcome to the club, kid,” Pratt joked), but after about a month in the NICU, they took their son home. “Our Jack went from a small, helpless little squirt to a strong, smart, happy, funny, beautiful boy who loves monster trucks and ‘Daniel Tiger,’ and, believe it or not, loves vegetables. Broccoli and cherry tomatoes are his favorite foods.”

“None of what we went through would be as easy even 10 years ago,” he said. In the NICU, life or death hangs in the balance — “a balance that’s tipping towards life by cutting-edge medicines, much of which is a direct result of this wonderful organization, the March of Dimes.”

(Pratt posted a photo during Thanksgiving of his family to Twitter)

Honored at the luncheon were Elizabeth Banks and Fox 2000’s Elizabeth Gabler. “We honor people for their most important job, and that’s being a mom,” said luncheon co-chair and Universal Pictures president Jimmy Horowitz. Steve Carell introduced Banks, whom he met when she auditioned for “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”

“She’s always the right person for the part. She plays characters that are elegant and goofy, chillingly remote or completely accessible, gorgeous or just really, really beautiful. On top of that, she’s funny.”

Universal will release Banks’ feature directorial debut “Pitch Perfect 2” in May. “She had a lot of kids to work with, she did an amazing job being both their director and their mother at the same time,” Horowitz told Variety.

Banks spoke about the March of Dimes’ advocacy work, including lobbying to remove pregnancy as a pre-existing condition that made it possible for many women to be denied health insurance.

Gabler, who got a standing ovation as she walked onstage, said she was in awe of the doctors, nurses and caregivers at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. “I was momentarily stunned by the thought that what I do is so trivial in comparison to the life-giving and life-promoting angels who sacrifice so much to do their job in the face of sometimes overwhelming adversity. But then I realized that what I do help is give people, families and caregivers alike, an hour or two of respite, of entertainment and escape. I, and many of us in this room, made the choice to create unique worlds of fantasy and fascination.  It makes me want to tell better stories, and make better films and reach for the stars in every way that I can.”

The luncheon raised more than $1 million. Also honored were doctors James Byrne and Herman L. Hedriana. In the crowd: Eddie Redmayne, Selena Gomez, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, “Fifty Shades of Grey” director Sam Taylor-Johnson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ron Howard, Chris Weitz and emcee Jason Bateman. Also in attendance were chairs Joi Horowitz, Wyck Godfrey and Mary Kerr; Jim Gianopulos, Stacey Snider, Steve Gilula, Nancy Utley, Donna Langley, Jeff Shell, Rob Friedman, Erik Feig, Nina Jacobson, Eric Fellner, Jason Blum, Alex Kurtzman, Tom Rothman, Frank Marshall, Joe Drake and Scott Stuber.

Click here for more information on the March of Dimes.

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  1. Joan Graves says:

    Reblogged this on P3 – Parenting To The 3rd Power and commented:
    Preemies come with all sorts of challenges that sometimes last for years or disappear in months.

  2. steve says:

    Our daughter weighed 1 pound 3.2 ounces and was 12 inches long,we never heard from March of dimes…ever! This was 23 years ago,no one but us and family cared about the tiny miracle clinging to life.She is totally blind and MMR,the doctors said she would not live to the age of 2 and they were so wrong.I am not sure how the March of dimes program works or worked but it was not there for her.

    • Lisa H. says:

      I’m not sure how the March of Dimes gets involved with children who are born prematurely. When my grandson was born at 29 weeks, the hospital assigned a case manager to oversee any and all services that may be available to help my daughter and her family. That was standard operating procedure for ALL families. She would make suggestions and my daughter and her husband followed up. They actively pursued any and all leads that might benefit her tiny son. It was an enormous amount of time commitment and paperwork but, without the guidance of a professional who knew what was out there, I don’t think the March of Dimes would have occurred to any of us. Isn’t it our responsibility to pursue all possible benefits available for our children, whether they are born prematurely or not? I am sorry for the families who did not start in a medical facility as dedicated to the entire family as Baystate Medical Center is. One of the biggest benefits was the parent groups that they joined to pass on helpful suggestions to other parents. Perhaps for those parents here whose family has suffered from lack of support, you can go to your local hospitals and share your stories to prevent other families from the same fate. Peace

  3. greywolf62 says:

    Our son was born 15.5-weeks early in 1998, but the Newport Beach, CA March of Dimes didn’t care about our black child. He spent 108-days in the NICU, and the Newport Beach MoD didn’t give one iota about him or us. He was sent home on oxygen and with a heart monitor, and the Orange County disability office told us we did not qualify for any aid, all while giving our white neighbors money for their “special” child who wrestles and plays football. Despite having 75% brain damage, heart and lung damage, visual impairment and a host of other health issues, he thrives. When our son was top Cub Scout and featured in the newsletter, Scouts refused to post his picture for fear of alienating their white donor base. When he saved a stranger’s life despite still being legally blind, the Orange County Boy Scouts refused to honor him. Instead they honored a white Scout who allegedly saved his Dad — his Scoutmaster — from choking. There were no witnesses to corroborate his story, but white is right in Orange County. [Two Mayors, the Fire Department, his Congressman and the Pastor of the church we were visiting that day honored him, as did his Eagle Scout father and firefighting grandfather.] Now I watch our country burn and think, good things come to those who wait. I would have preferred peace, but karma tastes good as well.

  4. Our son was born at 30 weeks, 5 days, weighing only two and a half pounds. He spent fifty-one days in the NICU at our local Army hospital, and finally came home on oxygen and a heart monitor. We continued kangaroo care with him for an additional four months to allow him to grow more efficiently, and eventually, he came off both the oxygen and monitor. Today, he is a brilliant, energetic second grader who loves animals and Legos, and who cracks us up constantly with his wry sense of humor. He has ADHD and SPD, but is thriving socially and academically, and he tells me he’s going to be “a scientist who welds.” :) We are so grateful to the doctors and nurses who helped us bring him home. Thanks so much for this story.

  5. Lisa H. says:

    We are a family of nurses. I’m a nurse (neurology), my husband is a nurse (cardiac), my ex-husband’s husband is a nurse (oncology) and my daughter, Ashley is a nurse (cardiac). After a long fertility battle, Ashley and her husband, Dan were so grateful to find out they were expecting a son in September 2013. In June, our beautiful grandson, Mason was not only born 10 weeks early, he had stopped growing in utero due to a condition called intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR). He was born weighing 1 lb, 1/2 ounce, just 10 inches long. He looked like a little tiny old man, perfectly proportioned, but with plenty of extra wrinkled skin. I wish I could add a photo. The NICU nurses at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA are miracle workers. We, as nurses, were humbled and awed by their fearless handling of these tiniest of patients. Slowly and surely, Mason grew and improved and after 83 days as an inpatient, we were thrilled to take him home. As the months have passed, one specialist after another is no longer necessary. Now 17 months old, he is crawling all over and learning new things every day. What the future brings for him, no one knows. I can tell you that he is the light of our lives and we can never thank the NICU professionals enough for their hard work and dedication. They are a VERY special breed of nurse.

  6. M. Scimeca says:

    I did not have the benefit of a NICU . i admire what they do. Im in my YOUNG 60’S. I had asthma, pnemonia, osteomyletis surgery in the incubator. I tipped the scales at 1lb. 15oz. A MIRICLE for that era. Today Im a grandmother of 6. and had a full life without ANY side effects of being 3 1/2 months early. We are TINY but MIGHTY.

  7. How fortunate for Chris Pratt and his son not having any of the “residuals” of premature birth… My son was a 24 week-er weighing less than a kilo… 754 grams… about 1.6-7 pounds… We lived in the NICU for 8.5 months. He is 24 years old now and every day and night is still a struggle. It is good to know the science has improved to not simply keep extremely premature fetuses alive; but to save them for a life of quality. I often journaled my feelings of his little “warming table” being more a petry dish… He made my heart grow and to know other children are doing better brings some comfort. Janice F. Guider, Fredrick’s mom and advocate… Yes, I am!

  8. Debbie Foxx says:

    Enjoyed this article. My youngest son born 12 weeks early at 2 lbs 1.8 ounces. The injection the day before for his lungs was vital in his excellent progress after birth. We were blessed that he did not have ANY residual problems and went home within 5 weeks at 3 lbs 6 ounces! He’s a happy, healthy 11 year old today. Our local NICU was amazing and the state of the art meds and machines and the incredible medical team made our stay there one of hope and extended family. Kudos to all those who give, in any way, to the littlest and most fragile of us all.

    • Adriana A. says:

      Our local NICU fought an amazing battle with our 2nd son, and we all won! The drs are incredible, but the nurses are the real angels, taking care of our little ones and also taking care of us! So glad your son is doing well!

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