- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - On June 6, descendants of the original March of Dimes generation proved that they haven’t lost a step when it comes to helping children born prematurely or with birth defects.

Hundreds of walkers turned out in tennis shoes, shorts and T-shirts to stroll around a course as part of the “March for Babies” event that has raised thousands of dollars so far this year.

“This is a great cause to help children,” said Jeff Rains, chief executive officer of Baptist Health, the program’s chief sponsor. “What better way to use our time and money?”

Ashley Gorum, regional director of the March of Dimes program that touches 21 counties in central Alabama, indicated that up to 800 participants would take part in this year’s fund drive.

Gorum said she was confident this year’s goal of $182,000 would be exceeded. Past drives have ended that way, she said.

“Our goal last year was $167,000, and we raised $178,000,” she said. “Our goal projection for this year is $185,000.”

In addition to the hundreds who walked and raised money for the program, up to 100 volunteers turned out to help with the event that was held outside the Baptist Health DeBoer Building in east Montgomery.

Rains said a scheduling conflict caused the walk to be changed from the Train Shed in downtown Montgomery where it was held last year to the Baptist Health site. There didn’t appear to be any problem with the decision to move.

Neonatal care has been an important service funded by donations through the annual event. Rains said 60 intensive care beds are available for use at Baptist Health’s two major facilities that offer neonatal care in Montgomery.

Several parents brought along their infants and toddlers to show how they’ve benefited from the neonatal care programs in Alabama. They wore big smiles as they carried them or pushed them in strollers.

Angela Sampson said her nearly 3-year-old son Carter was born 16 weeks early and received “wonderful care” at Baptist Health.

“He spent 100 days in an incubator,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how well they cared for him. Right now he’s into Batman.”

“March of Dimes” was a term coined by entertainer Eddie Cantor during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term 75 years ago. Children around America saved their dimes to do their part in helping to fund the program.

In the decades since the program’s inception, “March of Dimes” has dealt with changing times and medical ailments, but it’s always been about children and finding ways to help them overcome whatever disease or affliction is involved.

Money donated since that time has been used to fund research, education, vaccines and medical breakthroughs.

In addition to Baptist Health’s financial assistance in Alabama, national sponsors have included United Airlines, Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macy’s, Cigna and Mission Pharmacal.

Publix Super Markets Inc. has joined Baptist Health as a major sponsor of the River Region “March for Babies” program.”


Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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