GREENVILLE — A 7-year-old Darke County girl who was born six weeks premature has been selected as the 2017 March of Dimes Darke County Ambassador.
Join the ambassador family, hundreds of other families and businesses at the Darke County Fairgrounds for the annual March of Babies walk at 9 a.m. May 6.
In 2009, Mindy and Jason were excited about becoming parents and looking forward to starting their family. But their baby, Caleigh, arrived unexpectedly at only 32 weeks, weighing less than 5 pounds. The pregnancy was considered high risk as a result of Mindy’s low amniotic fluid and gestational diabetes.
Caleigh was unable to breathe on her own due to her under-developed lungs, which is typical of prematurely born babies. Due to these complications she spent her first weeks fighting for life in a hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Miami Valley Hospital.
“We thank the March of Dimes for funding the research responsible for surfactant therapy, the PKU test, ultrasounds, Apgar testing, and NICUs where our daughter received such wonderful care,” said Jason. “We’re walking in March for Babies because it saves lives and improves the health of countless moms and babies!”
In addition to the five-mile route through Greenville, there is a one-mile fun walk within the fairgrounds. This family-friendly morning also features free food for the walkers, entertainment, and a kids zone for the little ones with music, balloons, and face painting along with games and crafts. This year there will be the offer of a Superhero Sprint for children up to 10 years old for a suggested donation of $20 per child or $30 per family. Participants will receive a purple March of Dimes Cape, while supplies last, and it will begin at 8:30 a.m.
“The money raised by March for Babies helps give more babies a fighting chance at a healthy start in life,” says Jackie Allen, executive director, March of Dimes Greater Dayton Market. “The March of Dimes is committed to providing comfort and information to families such as the Stebbins family. By joining March for Babies, you also help fund cutting-edge research to find answers to the unknown causes of premature birth, and new ways to prevent and treat it.”
Like Caleigh, about 380,000 babies – or 1 in 10 — are born too soon in the United States each year. Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the leading cause of death of babies in the U.S. Those who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays. In addition to the human toll, premature birth accounts for more than $26 billion annually in medical and societal costs.
The nation’s favorite walking event, March for Babies takes place in 500 communities across the country and involves more than three million people each year. Register for the event by visiting marchforbabies.org/event/darkecounty to sign up to walk; start a team with a person’s company, family, or friends; or donate to help babies survive and thrive.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The 2017 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macy’s, Cigna, and HCA. Locally, March for Babies is sponsored by Greenville Technology Inc. (GTI), Dave Knapp Ford Lincoln and Wayne HealthCare.