Shaq Jumps Through Hoops for Healthy Babies
Communities Nationwide Host Annual March for Babies®
White Plains, New York — Thursday, March 01, 2012
The March of Dimes and former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal are teaming up to win for babies.
Shaq, as he is known, is the 2012 celebrity spokesperson for the March of Dimes’ biggest fundraiser, March for Babies.
“March for Babies walks are a slam dunk event for anyone who wants to help give babies a healthy start,” said Shaq, who retired from the NBA in 2011 after 19 seasons and now is a sports analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA. “I’m walking because I’m thankful that my children were born healthy. March for Babies supports research and local services that help moms have healthy, full-term babies. And if something does go wrong, March of Dimes is there with information and comfort.”
March for Babies takes place the last weekend in April in hundreds of communities nationwide. Shaq will be walking in Atlanta on April 28th.
The 2012 March for Babies goal is to raise $110 million to support cutting-edge research and community-based programs. Funds raised in March for Babies help bring comfort and information to families of babies in newborn intensive care. This year more than seven million people are expected to get involved in the event as sponsors, volunteers and participants.
“I’m not used to missing goals – or baskets,” said the winner of two NBA scoring titles and three-time MVP who played on 15 All-Star teams. “So come out and bring your family and friends to a March for Babies near you. Sign up to help at marchforbabies.org.”
Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the nation $26 billion annually, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report. Following three decades of increases, in 2010 the United States saw the first four-year decline in the preterm birth rate, to just under 12 percent. Despite the improvement, nearly half a million babies are born too soon each year and babies who survive an early birth face the increased risk of life long health challenges such as such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others.
About March of Dimes
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. The 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.
For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.