By Carolina Keating
It is an issue that affects everyone from superstars like Chris Pratt to millions of regular Americans every year – the premature birth of a child. On May 3, the annual Brazos Valley March of Dimes March for Babies will take place in College Station with the aim of raising money to help combat premature birth and birth defects.
March of Dimes was originally created by President Franklin Roosevelt in an attempt to end polio in 1938. He called upon Americans to give anything they could to the cause, even if it was just a dime. In response, Americans banded together and raised millions of dollars to fund research to find a cure for polio. Within a few years, a March of Dimes funded researcher made a break through and created the polio vaccine, effectively wiping out the disease.
After the incredible success of the polio campaign, March of Dimes needed a new cause and a new problem to solve. They chose to funnel their time and resources into preventing birth defects and infant mortality from premature births. Since turning their focus to this cause, March of Dimes has been instrumental in creating countless programs that have saved millions of lives.
“We have all been affected by this mission,” says Becki Goss-Shepherd, the March of Dimes division director for the Waco/Temple/Kileen and B/CS area. “The fact that you and I don’t have polio makes us March of Dimes babies.”
Shepherd was inspired to join the March of Dimes team after giving birth to triplets at 29 weeks. After becoming a volunteer, she says she really realized how much March of Dimes contributed to the health of her triplets. “They lived in the NICU the first three months of their lives. As a volunteer I learned of the impact [March of Dimes] made in our outcome. The triplets will turn four this year and are thriving. They received drugs researched by the March of Dimes that literally saved them,” Shepherd says.
Aside from curing polio, March of Dimes has been instrumental in implementing programs that have become the medical standard during pregnancy and after birth care. It is thanks to the March of Dimes that women are advised to take folic acid during pregnancy and that babies are given a heel-prick newborn screen that checks for a variety of diseases at birth.
On May 3, residents of the Brazos Valley will have a chance to give back to March of Dimes at the March for Babies. “It is a chance to celebrate babies that have been born and have rallied and are healthy now. It is also a time for people to remember babies that they have lost that were born too soon or that have birth defects,” says Shepherd. “It is a wonderful day of celebration.”
For participation and donation information, visit www.marchforbabies.org.
March of Dimes March for Babies
May 3 TIME NEEDED