How ‘Finding Nemo' creator unexpectedly inspired family of preemie

Francis William was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound, nine ounces. In a video posted to Facebook, his parents shared the boy’s story and their surprising source of encouragement— the creator of “Finding Nemo.”

“He was the sickest baby on the floor, in the unit,” dad Jeffrey Azize says in the video.

The numbers were all against the boy, a doctor at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, told Jeffrey, and he had a 15 percent chance of survival after his birth on January 13, 2015.

A nurse gave Jeffrey and his wife, Maureen, a set of markers to decorate the whiteboard in their son’s hospital room and Maureen’s sister drew characters from the movie “Finding Nemo.”

Francis William was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound, nine ounces. In a video posted to Facebook, his parents shared the boy’s story and their surprising source of encouragement— the creator of “Finding Nemo.”

“He was the sickest baby on the floor, in the unit,” dad Jeffrey Azize says in the video.

The numbers were all against the boy, a doctor at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, told Jeffrey, and he had a 15 percent chance of survival after his birth on January 13, 2015.

A nurse gave Jeffrey and his wife, Maureen, a set of markers to decorate the whiteboard in their son’s hospital room and Maureen’s sister drew characters from the movie “Finding Nemo.”


Shortly after, Maureen’s brother, Charles Kinnane, sent a video to the family from the 2012 Ted Talk conference, ABC News reported. As they watched, the couple realized the speaker, Andrew Stanton, was the Oscar-winning director and writer of “Finding Nemo.”

At the end of his speech, Stanton shared that he was a premature baby and his mother was told he was not going to live.

“Whatever I ended up being good at, I would strive to be worthy of that second chance I was given,” Stanton said in the video.

A month later, Kinnane called the couple and told them he’d just sat next to Stanton on a flight from LAX to Oakland, ABC News reported.

“I said, ‘Mr. Stanton, I don’t want to bother you, but my sister and brother-in-law have a son that’s in the NICU and your TED Talk really inspired us,” Kinnane, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, told ABC News. “I showed him some photos [of Francis] and he couldn’t have been nicer. After seeing some photos he said, ‘Us preemies need to stick together.”

Stanton gave Kinnane a signed note for his nephew, with a drawing of Nemo that read, “To Francis William, Just Keep Swimming. –Andrew Stanton.” “Just keep swimming” is the signature line of the character Dory.

118 days after he was born, Francis William went home.

In a video posted June 17, the Azizes shared their son’s story. It’s been viewed 14 million times and liked by 137,000 viewers.

“Just keep swimming, that’s what Francis did,” Maureen said in the video. “He kept swimming through the NICU and he continues to just keep swimming and thriving. We wanted to give him a chance.”

Read more on FOX NEWS

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

WATCH FOX 7 NEWS LIVE

FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):


Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Saturday

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday

6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.



Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories