March of Dime WalkAmerica is success despite rain

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 21, 2004

AHOSKIE – Dozens of individual residents from Ahoskie and Murfreesboro along with teams of employees from several corporations and organizations and their families, joined forces at the Ahoskie Community Building, Saturday, in the drizzling rain to help the March of Dimes raise funds for critical initiatives relating to research, education and advocacy in an effort to help curb health threats faced by babies across the nation.

&uot;This problem of pre-mature birth rates, low birth weight, birth defects and infant mortality affects more than 470,000 babies every year, some babies are so small they can fit in the palm of a hand,&uot; said March of Dimes Community Director Sarah Thompson, who handles the entire northeast region out of the Raleigh office.

&uot;We have seen a 27 percent increase in these problems since 1981, with one out of every eight babies being affected and more than half the time, premature birth happens for unknown causes.

Reflecting on the 80-90 people walking in the event, Walk America Chair Shelia Bradley commented, &uot;Here in Ahoskie, I’m proud that we’re one of 1,100 places in the nation where caring people banded together to save babies from premature birth. It feels good to get out and do something big that helps babies who are so very small. I know Ahoskie is making a difference.&uot;

The organization was established in 1938 by President Franklin Roosevelt on the premise was that people can solve any problem if they work together in an effort to save America’s youth from polio through a created partnership of volunteers and researchers.

&uot;Over the past 66 years, March of Dimes has saved millions of babies, from death and disability, because of people like these who are willing to give their time, talent and money to work toward the day when no baby is born too small,&uot; said Bradley.

In addition to the funds raised during this weekend’s Walk America event, teams can continue to raise money before the Ahoskie Walk America Awards Reception, which will be held Wednesday, November 17. (The cutoff date for turning in money that will be counted towards the awards is November 6.)

March of Dimes is a national voluntary agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. It is responsible for aiding in the development of the Salk vaccine which helped eradicate polio 17 years after the organization’s inception and continues to provide funding for cutting edge research and innovative programs, including a five year campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth in 2003 and efforts to help woman and children get the health insurance they need to get preventive checkups, immunizations, or treatment for common childhood illnesses.

&uot;We carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies’ lives,&uot; said Thompson.

Sponsors for the event included national advocates: CIGNA, K-Mart, Famous Footwear and Discovery Health in addition to local businesses.

&uot;We’re proud to have the support of Perdue farms, Metal Tech of Murfreesboro, NuCor Steel, Crystal Clean Car Wash, Ace Hardware of Ahoskie and Murfreesboro, Ahoskie Pediatrics, Piggly Wiggly, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Stoney Creek Diner. This could not have been possible without their help.&uot;

For more information on the March of Dimes Organization, visit their website at: or for Spanish-speaking individuals information can be found at: