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Tradition of Babies March continues

By Staff | May 24, 2012

On Saturday May 12, the Northern Division of the March of Dimes of West Virginia held a walk at Morgan’s Grove Park. This walk was to help raise funds and awareness of premature child birth and also ways to prevent it.

Started by Franklin Delanor Roosevelt in the late 1930s as a way to deal with the polio epidemic that not only crippled him but was affecting thousands of the youth at that time, March of Dimes was a grassroots organization that helped fund research. Through grants given by the program new ways of helping with birth defects, genetic diseases and overall health of babies in the 20th and 21st centuries have greatly helped generations of children.

Each year, March of Dimes events are held to help improve the health of babies. The Morgan’s Grove event was one of these, with over 100 participants this year and at this time about $25,000 raised. The event was deemed a success by Community Director Michelle Coffey, who started the job in February. Having only had the job for a short time Coffey was a bit nervous.

“I just hit the ground running. I really couldn’t have gotten it done without the work and support of the volunteers.” Coffey commented.

Coffey was also pleasantly surprised about how much support was given. This volunteer-based group relies on the efforts of individuals and companies in the local community to raise funds and awareness.

“It’s about family and friends. It also helps how great the day is, it makes us enthusiastic,” Karissa Harowicz, committee chair for the event, stated.

The money donated to and by these enthusiastic teams will go to help with research and various programs in West Virginia. With the success of this year’s event, Coffey looks to next year and has set a goal to double the number of participants and see an increase in donations.

“It was such a great day. I know that it will just grow from here, and I hope we have many more participants next year,” Kerry Asam, committee member and participant said of next year’s March for Babies.

With an infant mortality rate of 7.5 percent (deaths/ 1,000 live births) in West Virginia alone according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the March of Dimes is a great resource to further fund and expand the knowledge of premature births, birth defects, and infant mortality.

“I was lucky enough to have two healthy children, but you hear stories of other families and of other children. It really makes you feel blessed,” Coffey stated about her and others involvement with March of Dimes.

The 30 teams that participated this year are still looking to reach the goal of $30,000 this year; donations are still being accepted till the end of June. To learn more about March of Dimes and how to participate or donate, visit the website at www.marchforbabies.com or call Michelle Coffey at 304-702-6600.