March for Babies annual walk gives every baby a fighting chance
Broward March of Dimes’ annual fundraiser raises funds, awareness for stronger, healthier babies
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — On April 30, 2016, thousands are expected to come together at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Davie, Fla., to take part in the March of Dimes’ annual March for Babies walk.
March for Babies is the nation’s oldest walk fundraiser honoring babies born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. Each year in the United States, one in nine babies is born prematurely – 29,000 of them right here in Florida. Though the U.S. pre-mature birth rate declined for the seventh year in a row, it is still higher than most developed nations at 11.4 percent.
Pre-term infants account for a large proportion of infant deaths. More infants die from preterm-related problems than from any other single cause. Some premature babies require special care and spend weeks or months hospitalized in a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) fighting for their life.
Last year more than 5,000 people walked the three-mile course at Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Ave., Davie, Fla. This year, registration starts at 7 a.m., with the walk kicking off at 8 a.m. Anyone can sign up to walk and can create a team with family, friends and colleagues. Individual walkers are also encouraged to take part in the event.
The morning will be filled with activity, food, entertainment, a Kid’s Corner, exercise and activities for all ages. Complimentary parking will be available adjacent to the Research and Information Technology Center on the NSU campus.
This year’s event chair is Matthew Muhart, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood, Fla. Muhart will play an integral role in raising awareness and funds to advance the scientific research and educational programs at the core of the March of Dimes effort to find causes and preventions for preterm birth and birth defects.
“As a business leader, this campaign gives me and my company a unique opportunity to help the community that I love,” said Muhart, who will be asking other local businesses for their support in the coming months. “Premature birth is #1 killer of babies. One in nine babies in Florida is born too soon, and that’s just not acceptable. It takes leaders in our community working together to ensure more moms have healthier and full-term pregnancies.”
The Broward County 2016 Ambassador Family is the Woodward family from Davie. Sandy and Travis Woodward learned about March of Dimes when their first son, Travis Jr., was born almost two months early. He spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit before he could go home. Today, Travis is a healthy 11 year old who loves to perform with the South Florida Cloggers. Five years later, Toby was born two months early, weighing only 2 ½ lbs. He was on life support his first few days of life. After a 65-day neonatal intensive care unit stay, Toby is a healthy and happy kindergartener.
“My kids are testament to what the March of Dimes can do. Our stories have happy endings, but many others are not so fortunate. As a family we are committed to help bring awareness and help fundraise for the March of Dimes,” said the Woodward’s.
This year’s goal is to raise $1,000,000 for Broward County March for Babies. “March for Babies is our premier annual fundraiser. We encourage everyone to join the campaign to not only help raise the money needed for research and treatment, but to help raise awareness about the serious health problems of pre-term birth,” said Muhart.
The March of Dimes funds scientific research grants with the goal of determining the causes of and improving treatments for premature birth, birth defects and development disorders. In Florida, funds raised by March for Babies help support prenatal wellness programs, research grants, support programs, and advocacy efforts for stronger, healthier babies.
Communities nationwide have been walking since 1970 and have raised $2.3 billion. March for Babies is sponsored locally by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at Memorial, Sunshine Health, Chris Evert Broward Health Children’s Hospital, SunTrust, Ultimate Software and Wells Fargo. Media sponsors include Ambit Advertising and Public Relations, Lite 101.5 FM and SFLTV. March for Babies is sponsored nationally by Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macys, Cigna, United Airlines and Mission Pharmacal.
For more information, visit http://www.marchofdimes.org/florida/events/10294_3137373532.html. To schedule an interview, please contact Debra Kronowitz at (954) 651-1346 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org