NEC: A Life-Threatening Disease for Vulnerable Infants

NEC: A Life-Threatening Disease for Vulnerable Infants

May 17, 2021

Most people are not aware that babies born too soon or with a medical condition are at high risk for a complex disease called necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC. NEC is a severe intestinal disease that affects vulnerable infants, most often in the early weeks of life.

Complications following diagnosis can include infection, bowel resection or removal, organ failure and ultimately death. Babies who do survive, often have life-long health problems.

A nonprofit organization called the NEC Society is drawing much needed attention to the disease through World NEC Awareness Day on May 17. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has close ties to this organization through its founder and director, Jennifer Canvasser.

Jennifer, a former milk donor, lost one of her sons, Micah, to NEC shortly before his first birthday. After Micah’s death, she founded the NEC Society.

The NEC Society is dedicated to improving disease outcomes, raising awareness, and initiating research aimed at prevention. Numerous healthcare practitioners, researchers and patient families have joined forces to build a world without NEC.

For more details about Jennifer’s story and important facts about NEC, please read “9 Things You Need to Know About Necrotizing Enterocolitis”.

The NEC Society is partnering with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center this week to present the NEC Virtual Sessions May 19-21. The objectives of the event are to create a shared vision for the NEC community, establish a connection and sense of belonging within the NEC community and discuss major advances in the field. Registration is open and available here.


NEC Awareness Day: May 17
Jennifer with Micah
Jennifer with her son, Micah, who died of NEC.