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    About 10,000 to march to help babies at Chicago Lakefront walk

    Rowena Roxas, March of Dimes - Illinois Chapter, 312-596-4725, rroxas@marchofdimes.com

    Kernan Family named 2013 Lakefront Ambassador Family for April 28 March for Babies walk

    Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2013 —

    Thousands across Chicagoland will participate in March for Babies, the annual walk of the March of Dimes to help babies, happening in seven area cities (Chicago, Midlothian, Bolingbrook, Naperville, Elk Grove Village, Libertyville and St. Charles) on Sunday, April 28.

    The Kernan Family of Chicago will represent the March of Dimes as the 2013 Lakefront March for Babies Ambassador Family in celebration of their daughter Kayla, and in memory of her twin brother Dylan. About 10,000 people will gather at Butler Field in Grant Park at 7:30 a.m. for registration. The 3.1-mile walk kicks off at 8:30 a.m.  NBC5’s Rob Elgas and Kye Martin will emcee.

    The Kernan twins, Dylan and Kayla were born 15 weeks too soon, and were immediately intubated and given surfactant therapy (developed by the March of Dimes) for their lungs.  After one month, Kayla was breathing on her own, but Dylan was not making progress.  “The doctors sat down with us and told us our worst fear – they doubted that Dylan would make it and if he did, he would never be able to feed himself, walk or talk, and he would be blind,” said Jenny Kernan. “Shortly after that, Dylan passed away in our arms after his seven week fight.”

    Kayla continued to thrive in the neonatal intensive care unit where she spent the first 134 days of her life.  Kayla has been remarkably healthy and has not presented any lasting complications.  She is in first grade and is a happy, active little girl, taking gymnastics, karate and spending time with her younger brother Connor, who was born full-term.

    March for Babies began in 1970 and has raised more than $2 billion to date for research, education, advocacy and community support to help prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. It takes place in about 750 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In its 43rd year, March for Babies is expected to draw more than 20,000 companies and 7 million people across America.

    Each year, nearly 500,000 babies are born too soon. But far too many die, making premature birth the leading cause of death in newborns. In Illinois, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely every year.

    For more information about March for Babies, or to join the Chicago Lakefront walk, sign up at: marchforbabies.org. The walk features lunch and snacks, as well as entertainment by the Eli Story Band.  The team and dancers from Chicago Rush, Chicago’s first arena football team will also be on site.  For more information about Chicago Rush, visit www.arenarush.com.

    The local sponsors of this walk are Dempster Family Foundation, Cardinal Capital Management, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, KPMG, and DTZ, a UGL Company. The media sponsor is NBC5 Chicago and Un Buen Doctor bilingual magazine, and the 2013 national March for Babies sponsors are: Kmart, the March of Dimes No. 1 corporate sponsor, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Famous Footwear, Actavis, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines. 

    About March of Dimes In 2013, the March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary and continuing its work to help more babies get a healthy start in life. 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.org or nacersano.org.

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