March of Dimes today launched a new virtual campaign, called Step Up!, to raise vital support for moms and babies during the COVID-19 pandemic causing the ongoing global health crisis. The new virtual fundraiser will replace this year’s March of Dimes’ annual in-person March for Babies events that for the past 50 years have seen thousands of people march as a way to fundraise. Due to social distancing and stay-in-place orders, March of Dimes is encouraging supporters across the country to Step Up! by taking part in a virtual walk – safely at home or wherever they can – in order to support moms and babies during their greatest time of need.
“It is imperative that moms and babies have access to the care and resources required for a healthy start each and every day, and the need has become even more critical in our current environment,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of March of Dimes. “During this unprecedented time, March for Babies Step Up! is so vitally important because through the incredible fundraising efforts of our supporters, we can continue to help moms and babies as well as learn more about this novel disease. We are so thankful our supporters are able to virtually participate in this innovative fundraising activity that will make a difference in the lives of families everywhere.”
Beginning today, March for Babies is asking participants to register to virtually march at marchforbabies.org. The virtual March for Babies will commence across the country with participants tracking their steps using smart phones or fitness watches and collecting donations for their steps. Every step will be tracked and totaled through the Charity Miles mobile app, culminating in a virtual celebration on May 15. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in a series of fun, virtual challenges throughout the campaign to boost their step count, share personal stories about why they’re “stepping up” and ultimately raise awareness of the critical needs of mothers and babies right now.
“Expecting mothers can’t pause pregnancy. The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a strain on the healthcare system, and at this time, the health risks to moms and babies remain mostly unknown, however they are the ones who depend on the health system for support from pregnancy through delivery,” shared Dr. Rahul Gupta, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Officer at March of Dimes. “There is an urgent need, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support families with a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and ensure that moms-to-be have the latest health information to protect themselves and their infants.”
Even in the best of times, moms and babies rely on March of Dimes programs, research, advocacy and health information. There are families right now imagining preparing to labor or new parents concerned for their baby in the NICU, and that is why March for Babies will proceed, but in a new way.
“I believe the March of Dimes mission to support and protect moms and babies has never been more urgent than it is today and I’m honored to have been able to help kick off the Step Up! campaign through a virtual launch event last week,” shared Eli Manning, retired New York Giants Quarterback and New York City March for Babies Vice Chairman. “March of Dimes is an organization built on the idea that when we come together, we can achieve great things. And, honestly this year’s March for Babies seemed unlikely, but we worked to develop a game plan, and the simple answer is – we will all ‘step up’ to help raise critical funds needed during this unprecedented time.”
For more than 80 years, March of Dimes has pioneered research, led programs, provided educational resources and enabled policy change so that every mom and baby can have the best possible start. The funds raised through Step Up! will continue to support research for COVID-19 treatments that are safe for pregnant and lactating moms, fundraising and advocacy efforts needed to help those families directly impacted by COVID-19, resources and training for doctors and nurses in the ICU and NICU, and the development of educational materials for moms-to-be and families about what they should know to protect themselves.
For more information on how to sign up to Step Up! and fundraise, please visit www.marchforbabies.org. To download the Charity Miles app, click here from your mobile device to download the Charity Miles App. Step along with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and share your journey using #MarchforBabies and #MFBStepUp!