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What you should know about the March of Dimes

By Staff | Mar 6, 2009

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am the Family Team Specialist for the West Virginia Chapter of the March of Dimes. I have been volunteering for the March of Dimes for the last twelve years having served on committees for the March for Babies and the Signature Chef Auction, two of our premiere yearly fundraising events. I do this because I have two children who have benefited from the research and hard work of the March of Dimes, and it is a subject that I feel very passionate about it.

The March of Dimes was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to save America’s youth from polio. By creating a partnership of volunteers and researchers, the Salk vaccine was developed and polio was eradicated. However, the fight to save babies continues. March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: Prematurity, birth defects, and low birth weight.

You have been touched by the March of Dimes if . . .

Your baby or a baby you know was born prematurely, too small and too soon, and received life-saving lung surfactant therapy to help with breathing

You know that neural tube defects, like Spina Bifida, can be prevented up to 70 percent of the time if women take a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of the B vitamin folic acid before and during pregnancy.

Your baby or a baby you know was cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit or NICU

You and your children were vaccinated against polio

You or someone in your family received the PKU test after birth. The PKU test is a heel prick blood test that can diagnose a disorder which causes severe mental retardation if left untreated

You are aware that alcohol, drug and tobacco use during conception and pregnancy can lead to severe birth defects

You or someone you know received a rubella vaccine

On April 26 in Berkeley County and May 9 in Jefferson County the March for Babies walk will be taking place. March for Babies is an exciting, fun-filled day of outdoor activity with family, friends, neighbors and community and business leaders. From some of our local businesses ( Kmart, BB&T, BCT, Susquehanna, Centra Bank) to families in your own neighborhood, March of Dimes volunteers know that March for Babies is a great way to support a great cause and have fun, too.

To learn more, please visit www.marchforbabies.org and see what others have to say about this great event, or call 263-2003. Sign up your Family Team now. Remember, one day all babies will be born healthy, but we have to walk to get there. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Ann Baronner

Family Team Specialist

March of Dimes Foundation

West Virginia Chapter

305 W. King St.

Martinsburg, WV 25401