Help Save Lives: March for Babies on May 5th at Innsbrook

2008d009March for Babies is the largest annual fundraising event for the March of Dimes, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2013. More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year. The March of Dimes has helped each and every one of them through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.

Richmond is no stranger to fundraising and races – and the March for Babies is an important annual event for families. Last year more than 1,500 March of Dimespeople attended the event and they are hoping for even more today.

This year’s March for Babies will be held on May 5th at Innsbrook’s Northshore Commons. It will include:

  • Children’s Festival
  • 5k Walk
  • Lots of entertainment
  • Food and fun

Why Attend?

Kirsten and her family know the challenges, emotions, and distress that come from having a baby born too early. Read her beautiful story here:

My name is Kirstin, my husband’s name is Leon and our miracle baby’s name is Daniel Christian Hughes. We are the 2013 Ambassador Family for the Richmond March for Babies.  We are Team Daniel 6.  Daniel’s due date was set for February 10, 2012, BUT he arrived on October 15, 2011.  In other words, our son was born at 23 weeks and one day, weighing only 1 lb., and 2.4 oz. and measuring 11.5 inches long!

In 2011 on Father’s Day we found out that I was six weeks pregnant.  After years of praying for a child, I was finally going to be a mother.  However, right before my sixth month of pregnancy I was scheduled for a routine checkup.  We appreciated the timing of this appointment, because earlier in the week I was not feeling well.  My symptoms quickly took a turn for the worse that Friday morning, so much so, that my water ended up breaking at home.  Immediately, my husband called my doctor and ended up rushing me to his office, which he subsequently had me admitted to Henrico Doctors Hospital.

The doctors requested several test trying to determine the state of my pregnancy.   I was told that Daniel had no fluid around him, and that either I was going to deliver this baby within 24-48 hours, or stay in the hospital until my due date.  Incidentally, prior to this event all of my routine ultrasounds and blood work came back fine – no problems.  I had no major complications during my pregnancy, or any reason for concern for having a premature baby; at this moment my husband and just I prayed.  As labor progressed through the evening we received a visit from the chief neonatologist who provided us with grim statistics on potential outcomes of babies born this prematurely.

The doctor instructed us to make a decision on whether to sustain Daniel’s life after birth; our choice is obvious.  We chose the biblical name Daniel as his name, because we were aware of the challenges he would face.  The doctor placed Daniel on me for about 30 seconds after giving birth to him; from there he was immediately rushed to the NICU and placed on a ventilator.  Our first opportunity to hold our child came three weeks after his birth.  In a short period time, we were propelled into the NICU world.

Even though Daniel spent the first five months of his life in the NICU, we were with our son every day. Daniel has had several procedures from having a simple hernia repair to having heart surgery. We have watched him go through the typical preemie roller coaster ride. Daniel′s lungs were extremely premature, because he was born too soon. However, we were so fortunate to have had the surfactant — a major breakthrough for the March of Dimes, for Daniel′s lungs. Daniel came home in March of 2012 on O2, an apnea and bradycardia machine, pulse ox, multiple meds, and six different Specialists. In addition to that Daniel′s final medical bill was just over three million dollars, another reason why we should support healthy babies through the March of Dimes.

Today, Daniel is doing well. He is off of everything, and he continues to meet his developmental milestones. We continue to use Early Intervention, and work closely with his specialist. He now weighs over 24 pounds. We find it a privilege to be an Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes.

Each year, preterm birth affects nearly 500,000 babies—that is 1 of every 8 infants born in the United States.  It is now estimated that prematurity is the cause of one-third of all deaths of infants before their first year. Many others are affected by prematurity-related childhood illness and disability each year — including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, blindness, and reduced growth.  Prematurity costs the U.S. 26 billion dollars every year.   On a local level, in 2012 UVA and VCU have been awarded National Research Grants totaling approximately 1.1 million.

The Virginia MOD has awarded over 150,000 in local community grants aimed directly at impacting the outcomes of premature births by investing in Centering Pregnancy, a new model of group prenatal care.  To date, the Central Virginia Division has a Signature NICU Family Support Project at HCA Hospitals and Bon Secours Hospitals which has touched more than 3000 families in the Central VA area.  Overall, The March of Dimes has been working with prenatal care providers and community-based organizations such as Macy’s Childrens Hospital, Kmart, and VCU.

Again, we are very excited to be a part of March for Babies this year and we hope you will join our team!  Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. We are walking because we want to do something about it.  When you participate in March for Babies, you are helping the March of Dimes raise money to fund research and programs to find the causes of prematurity and preventing babies from suffering these lifelong consequences!  As a teacher, I often share with my students that people do not care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Please join our team – Team Daniel 6.  Even if you can’t walk, please help us reach our goal by making a tax deductible donation online.  You may also make cash or check donations. Please make your checks out to the March of Dimes and write Team Daniel 6 in the memo.  Finally, as Daniel leads the march this year we hope that our Grove family will consider being a part of our Ambassador Family Team.

The Richmond March for Babies is scheduled for Sunday, May 5th, 2013 at 8 a.m. at – Innsbrook’s Northshore Commons, 4951 Lake Brook Drive, Glen Allen VA 23060.  We hope to see you there.  Thank you!

Let’s help families like Kirsten’s and March for Babies on May 5th.