LOCAL DAD TO CYCLE FROM WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK TO PHILADELPHIA IN HONOR OF TWIN DAUGHTERS BORN PREMATURE
Philadelphia, PA, June 23, 2014
In 2006, Mark Mills and his wife Rajasi were like many expectant parents, excited about starting their family and even more excited when they learned they were having twin girls! Suddenly, on June 14, 2006, their daughters Chloe and Chessa were delivered ten weeks premature. It was one of the brightest and darkest days of the Mills’ lives. They welcomed into the world daughter Chloe, who weighed just 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Sadly, they lost her twin sister Chessa, who died just prior to delivery. Their emotions swirled dramatically as they celebrated Chloe’s birth, mourned the death of Chessa, and worried about the struggle that Chloe would have in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
After a 7-week stay in the hospital, Chloe came home as a healthy, little girl weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces. The months that followed included a tremendous number of doctors’ visits including several specialists.
Later in 2006, the family decided to hold a special fundraiser, a rigorous bike trek, to raise funds and awareness for the March of Dimes. The Mills thought it would be fitting to have a 2-day bike ride starting at the March of Dimes national headquarters in White Plains, New York, and finishing at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) where their daughters were delivered. The Mills thought it would be perfect to call the group the C.C. Riders to honor Chloe and Chessa.
The C.C. Riders will be holding their 8th annual Tour for Babies to benefit the March of Dimes on June 27 and 28. In addition to Mark and Raj Mills, the C.C. Riders cycling team also includes friends and family members -- Matt Arnold, John Russell, Dave Thiebeau and Mike Mills. This approximately 130 mile long ride will take the group from suburban Westchester County in New York, through the Bronx and Manhattan, onto a ferry into New Jersey, then across New Jersey to Philadelphia.
“Even before our daughters were born, I was actively involved with the March of Dimes, supporting their fight for healthier babies. But I never anticipated that their mission would hit so close to home. Because of our experience, we want to make sure that no other parents go through what we did. That is how the idea of the C.C. Riders was created", said Mark Mills. “The scariest moments of my life were those sitting in the NICU, not knowing if Chloe would survive. Today, thanks to the support of the March of Dimes, Chloe recently celebrated her 8th birthday and those early months are a distant memory. Now, I’m raising money and awareness for the March of Dimes so no other families will have to face such scary moments.”
Premature birth touches nearly half a million babies and their families every year. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the causes of premature birth and providing comfort and information to families.
Through this annual ride, C.C. Riders have raised nearly $60,000 for the Pennsylvania Chapter March of Dimes. Contributing to that success over the years are many supporters and sponsors including Cigna, the law office of Antheil, Maslow & McMinn, D&D Contractors, Legacy Planning Partners, Indian Ridge Provisions, FlowCoatings, and Line2Line Coatings. In addition Trader Joe’s (Ardmore, PA), Boston Style Pizza (Merion, PA), Yards Brewing Company, and the White Dog Café (Philadelphia) are providing goods and services for the ride and celebration. If you would like to support their efforts, click on their online fundraising page www.marchforbabies.org/team/t2032686
About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.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.