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Local team leads March of Dimes effort

By Staff | Mar 23, 2012

One in seven babies in West Virginia will be born premature this year. On May 12, 2012 Jefferson County residents will have the opportunity to significantly diminish that number. A local team of community members have committed to bringing the mission and message of the March of Dimes to Jefferson County.

Karissa Horowicz, West Virginia native and Jefferson County resident, has taken on the role of 2012 Jefferson County March for Babies chair in an effort to raise awareness and important funding which will aim to improve the lives of babies born premature or with birth defects. The March for Babies, the March of Dimes largest fundraiser, helps fund essential lifesaving research and educational programs. In the upcoming months the Jefferson County March for Babies will focus on recruiting teams who will lead our community in making a positive impact in the health of West Virginia moms and babies. Last year 25 teams participated by walking in the event.

“We want to double that number in 2012 by encouraging community members to start a team with co-workers, family or friends” said Karissa. Last year in Jefferson County more than $24,000 was raised. This year the board has committed to $6,000 in new revenue with an overall goal of $30,000. Karissa added, “I was pleasantly surprised to learn that 77 percent of money raised in West Virginia goes back to our state to fund programs and grants.”

“We are fortunate to have Kerry Asam, Whitney Rinker, Brandon Braithwaite, Kim Himes, Chrissi Froyer and Diane Creason serving on the committee and share their enthusiasm and commitment to this important cause but we cannot do this without the support of the community. Each of us will be contacting and personally visiting local businesses, schools, churches and community organizations to request their support in the coming weeks.” said Karissa. “West Virginia ranked a grade “D” on the National Prematurity Report Card. That is just not acceptable. This campaign gives me the unique opportunity to work with the members of our community to ensure that Jefferson County families have the resources available to them for a strong healthy pregnancy.”

Jefferson County residents and businesses can start a walking team with co-workers, family or friends today at www.marchforbabies.org. The three mile walk will be held on May 12, 2012 at Morgan’s Grove Park in Shepherdstown, rain or shine. The event will include food and a “Kids Area” featuring Susie the Clown, Swirly Curls face painting, a moon bounce, DJ Rick Rohn and many more fun activities.

“We’re so excited to have Karissa on board to help us at a local level,” said Michelle Coffey, community director for the March of Dimes Chapter. “Her passion for the cause and commitment to helping our babies will be a huge driving factor in the success of our event. We are grateful for her commitment as well as all of our hardworking committee members. I am the only March of Dimes employee in the Eastern Panhandle and I rely heavily on my committee and volunteers. These ladies are working hard and I could not be more proud.”

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Cigna, Famous Footwear, Sanofi Pasteur, FedEx, Mission Pharmacal, Watson Pharmaceuticals, First Response, and United Airlines. Local sponsors are BB&T, Bank of Charles Town and Jefferson Memorial Hospital.