Walk planned to raise money for premature babies

Rain or shine, the March of Dimes will host Walk America April 22, at Cascade Park.

Walk America is a major event held every year across the nation in order to raise money for premature babies. Everyone from state senators to students is participating in order to raise funds for the event.

Every year over half a million babies are born prematurely. Walk America gives hope to thousands of the premature babies who actually live.

“My son, Will, was born prematurely in 2003, and that’s why we walk,” said state Rep. Loranne Ausley-Holliman, D-Gadsden.

“He wasn’t expected to live and now he is here, and this year he is walking with us.”

Other families continue to contribute time and money to events like this.

The March of Dimes is the leading organization to fight against premature births.

Last year, the Ausley-Hollimons raised over $20,000 within their team alone. This year the overall anticipated goal is to reach over $250,000.

“We have over 100 teams registered. We have individual families and even some major corporations joining in the event,” said David Campbell, executive director for the Northwest Florida division of March of Dimes.

Companies like Publix, Bank of America and Ted’s Montana Grill are some major sponsors for this year. Another major sponsor and honorary chair is T.K. Wetherall, Florida State University’s president.

“T.K. and his involvement through FSU is truly making a major impact on the event. He has given his time and energy toward this great cause,” Campbell said.

The funds raised every year are allocated to many different avenues. This event gives money to such projects like parent education, childhood healthcare, and donations to medical research.

Pregnant women are educated about premature labor and how to recognize the signs of preterm labor.

Another portion of the money is given in comfort to parents who are caring for neonatal children. Over $24 million of the funds raised go toward medical research.

These specialized scientists do medical and genetic research to help save the premature babies and find cures for serious birth defects.

One FAMU student said she will begin to participate in this event.

“Troi was born two months early, and every time I look at her, I am grateful for an organization like this,” said Rondrea King, an education student from Miami.

Many participants in the walk are affected by premature birth. They participate so that other children will have the equipment and research to be saved.

Since 1970, The March of Dimes has been the leading contributor to saving the lives of premature babies. In 2005, Walk America raised $102 million dollars towards the efforts, and they are continuing to exceed that amount this year.

Kreg Kimmons, manager at Ted’s Montana Grill said, “We are doing our part as a company to try and give back to the community for a great cause.”

To read or get more information about the March of Dimes, go to www.walkamerica.org.

Contact Barryne Richardson at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com