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March of Dimes - Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    March of Dimes March for Babies Kicks off Campaign in Laurens County

    Lindsay Vickery, March of Dimes, 864-551-2649, lvickery@marchofdimes.com

    Laurens, SC, February 15, 2013 —

    Alfredia Philson, Cindy Strange, and Sharon O’Bryant with 2013 March for Babies Chairman Stephen Wetmore

    The March of Dimes held the official kick off for the 2013 March for Babies fundraising campaign on January 31 at the Chamber of Commerce.  Wyatt Mattison of WLBG Radio served as emcee at the event and representatives from family and corporate teams from the Laurens community attended.

    “This kick off is a wonderful opportunity to get our teams’ fundraising efforts started, so they have plenty of time to recruit team members and raise money for healthier babies” said Stephen Wetmore, Chairman for March for Babies. “March for Babies will be held on April 27 at Little River Park.  Funds raised for March for Babies support vital research to help prevent premature birth and birth defects and supports community programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies.  Last year the March of Dimes distributed $400,000 in community grant funding to projects improving the health of South Carolina’s moms and babies.”

    South Carolina currently has a premature birth rate of 14.1%--one of the highest in the country. Premature babies often struggle to survive and many have lifelong health and developmental consequences. In half of all cases there is no known cause for premature birth.

    During the Kick Off, participants from March for Babies 2012 who raised more $1,000 or more were recognized as part of the Circle of Champions. “Our Circle of Champions are leading the way so more babies will have a healthy start in life, and more families will know the joy of having a healthy baby.” said Lindsay Vickery, Community Director for the March of Dimes.  

    One family who knows what the journey of premature birth are the Abernathys, who are serving as this year’s Laurens County Ambassadors.  After almost two months of bed rest and one month in the hospital, Neely gave birth to Jackson Abernathy at 30 weeks weighing 2 lb 4 oz.  He had a very difficult time breathing and was placed on a ventilator for the first 24 hours.  The biggest hurdle for them to overcome was trying to get little Jackson to gain enough weight in order to be able to thrive in the outside world.  After 44 days in the NICU he was released with a heart monitor for precautionary measures.  He was later readmitted for hernia surgery—a complication of his prematurity.  Luckily, the surgery was a huge success and Jackson has been growing by leaps and bounds.

    To register yourself or a family or corporate team, please call the March of Dimes office: 864-551-2649 or visit marchofdimes.com/southcarolina.

    In Laurens, March for Babies is sponsored by Wal-Mart, Asten Johnson, PRTC, CeramTec, LCWSC, Michelin, UTi/Key Logistics Solutions, WLBG Radio, Clinton Chronicle, and Go Laurens.  The 2013 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Famous Footwear, Actavis, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines.

    Each year the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community programs. Through these programs, the March of Dimes continues working to prevent birth defects and infant death, to reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, and to increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.

    In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life.  Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive.  Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects.  For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com/southcarolina, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 



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