San Joaquin County Has One of the Highest Preterm Birth Rates in California

Stockton, CA | Monday, April 17, 2017

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Kelly Kelly
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Hundreds of families and local business leaders will join together on Saturday, April 22 at Caldwell Park in Stockton for the 2017 March for Babies presented by Sutter Health. March for Babies is the nation’s oldest fundraising walk and supports the March of Dimes. Funds raised through March for Babies help in the fight against premature birth, now the leading global cause of death for children under five years old. In the United States, one in ten babies is born preterm ranking among the worst in high-resource countries. Babies who survive often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.

“There are serious preterm birth inequities between regions and races within California,” said Kelly Kelly, March of Dimes California Central Valley Senior Development Manager. “Among the California counties with the highest number of births, three of the four worst preterm birth rates are in counties located in the Central Valley: Fresno, San Joaquin, and Kern.”

            “As the 2017 March for Babies chair I have the privilege of supporting the March of Dimes in its efforts to ensure all babies are born healthy,” said Lee Neves, partner at Cross Currents LLC. “We are proud to join the March of Dimes in the fight against premature birth, one of the leading causes of infant mortality.  Every contribution counts, so please join us and support March for Babies.  With your help, we can raise awareness and increase funds that support the lifesaving work of the March of Dimes.”

Stockton March for Babies on-site registration begins on Saturday, April 22 at Caldwell Park at 8:00 a.m. with the 3-mile walk kicking off at 9:00 a.m. March for Babies is the largest annual fundraising event of the March of Dimes, but it also is a special celebration for many families. There is a sense of community among families who have experienced having a baby in the NICU. These families have experienced the roller coaster of emotions — from heart wrenching to joy.

“March for Babies is a memorable and rewarding event for the whole family,” said Kelly Kelly, March of Dimes Senior Development Manager. “We celebrate children and parents who experienced the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or special care nursery.  We’ll recognize these families throughout the day with a Superhero Sprint for kids, complete with a purple cape, a symbolic lei for mom and dad and loads of fun in the kids’ zone. And, for the first time, participants will have the opportunity to walk through our Memory Mile and visit our unforgettable March for Babies Wishing Tree. Those who have experienced loss will find a meaningful way to remember their baby,” she said.

Stockton residents can sign up today at to start a team with co-workers, family or friends; or make a donation to help more babies get a healthy start in life. The March for Babies fundraising campaign continues through May. Funds raised by March for Babies in Stockton support March of Dimes programs that provide comfort and support for moms and babies as well as innovative research, including 32 research grants totaling almost $9 million in California alone, to find the unknown causes of premature birth and birth defects.

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 and If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The 2017 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macy’s, Cigna, HCA, and regional sponsor Publix Super Markets, Inc. Stockton March for Babies is sponsored by Signature Sponsor: Sutter Health, Platinum Sponsors: Sutter Health Sutter Gould Medical Foundation and Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center, Gold Sponsors: Big 5 Sporting Goods and Kaiser Permanente, Silver Sponsors: Lodi Health, San Joaquin County Office of Education and Head Start San Joaquin, and Bronze Sponsor: Wells Fargo.

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About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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