CHICAGO -- The March of Dimes has chosen a healthy youngster as its annual poster child. The girl, who was born more than three months premature, proves miracles can happen, the charity said.

Laura Krumwiede was given a 40 percent chance of surviving after her birth in 1984. She weighed less than 2 pounds, her lungs were unable to function, and she spent the first days of her life hooked to a respirator.

Today, the suburban Chicago youngster is a healthy kindergartner, looking forward to meeting President Bush and fulfilling her other duties as the 1991 national ambassador for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

"Laura is our everyday reminder of the miracle of a healthy child, and of the fact that sometimes we have to make that miracle happen," said Jennifer L. Howse, March of Dimes president. "Programs and treatments developed by March of Dimes researchers helped save Laura's life."

Selecting a healthy poster child reflects the organization's new focus on "a healthy birth for every baby," the charity said in a statement.

The March of Dimes was founded in 1938 to fight polio, and for decades it chose disabled youngsters as poster children. In 1958, the organization expanded its programs in an effort to fight birth defects and low birth weights. More than 250,000 babies each year are born weighing less than 5.5 pounds. Low birth weight is related to 60 percent of all infant deaths and is closely associated with birth defects, the charity said.