It won’t surprise die-hard Fifth Harmony fans to know that the feisty Ally Brooke came into this world screaming — or, as her dad jokes, “I came out singing.” But despite her noisy arrival, she was born six weeks early at just 1 pound, 14 ounces, and her parents were scared for their baby girl and fighting every day for her survival.
Now, Brooke is using her platform as one-fifth of Fifth Harmony to team up with March of Dimes and bring awareness to the issue of premature birth. “I really, really wanted to be able to help other families like mine, to be able to help babies and families who are going through this,” she told Billboard on Wednesday, during Prematurity Awareness Month and a day after World Prematurity Day.
Of the 15 million babies born premature every year, 1 million won’t survive — and those who do survive often face increased risks of life-long health problems. Brooke wanted to be a spokeswoman for the cause “knowing the work that March of Dimes does for researching the cause of premature birth and helping families with babies in the NICU [neonatal intensive-care unit], important development for treatments, and they provide education to help more moms have healthy, full-term babies.”
In addition to helping raise awareness for this issue, which is obviously close to her heart, Brooke also hopes to inspire fans to go out and make a difference in their own lives.
“You don’t even have to really join a huge organization or anything like that,” she said. “It starts with you in your own community. Just being kind to one another, being supportive of one another and being loving and respectful. I can’t tell you how far that will get you in life, just being able to do that. And smile to the person next to you, smile to a stranger and make a new friend. Make a new person feel welcome. There’s so many things you can do to make your community and help the world. If we were all kind, if we were all loving and respectful to one another, this world would be so different. So it starts with you and you can do it. Don’t let anything hold you back!”
So how can Harmonizers help Brooke during Prematurity Awareness Month? Visit MarchOfDimes.org to learn more about the issue and offer your support. “There’s a lot of opportunities to donate, volunteer and work to save little babies like me.”
Stay tuned to Billboard.com for more from our interview with Ally Brooke: In an upcoming episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, we talk to Brooke about the follow-up to Fifth Harmony’s Reflection album, being chosen as Group of the Year at next month’s Billboard Women in Music event, and much more!