“We like to say that everyone is a March of Dimes baby,” says Stephanie Renner, general counsel for PBI Bank and chair of the Louisville March of Dimes fall fundraising event, “because the research and funding that has gone to prevent premature birth has really benefited us all.” She’s right; the technology and medical advances funded by March of Dimes prove that the organization is making tremendous strides to give every baby a fighting chance.
The organization was created by President Franklin Roosevelt, who fought polio as a boy. Since polio was on the rise in the early 20th century, he created the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis – better known as the March of Dimes, since children across the nation saved their allowance dimes and sent them in to help save other children struggling with polio. The foundation created an aid program for patients and funded research for vaccines. Eventually, it led to the vaccines children still receive today and the eradication of polio in the United States.
The March of Dimes then changed focus to its current goal: preventing birth defects and ending infant mortality. Through research, education and implementation of new medical practices, the March of Dimes is fighting to save babies. It is most commonly known now for its Prematurity Campaign, which started in 2003 to raise awareness and discover the causes of premature birth.
“We had our twin boys at 28 weeks,” says Sarah Spencer. She’s participating in Louisville’s March of Dimes fall fundraiser – Signature Chefs, a food tasting and gala held downtown. “We really appreciated the support the March of Dimes gave us for what we were going through.” Today, her 2-year-old twin boys are healthy, happy and strong.
The March of Dimes provides information on a variety of resources. Even a simple visit to marchofdimes.org provides a wealth of information on topics ranging from prenatal to postpartum care. And the March of Dimes makes sure to update information on current topics – featured articles include pages on microcephaly and the Zika virus, both current issues that heavily influence pregnancy and infant care.
The information that the March of Dimes prepares is simple, concise and accurate. Their research is presented in many ways, from a technical grant to a series of colorful graphics – allowing the organization to influence many different groups. Healthcare providers, policymakers and new parents are just a few that rely on the March of Dimes for information that helps give every baby a fighting chance.
And it’s working.
March of Dimes research has helped exponentially in giving premature babies a chance at survival and in helping them to reach developmental milestones that allow for a normal childhood and adulthood. “You have families’ lives that are changed forever,” reflects Sarah’s husband, Brad Spencer. “It’s because of some the outstanding research that the March of Dimes has done.” VT
The March of Dimes is holding its fall fundraising event, Signature Chefs, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. The gala will take place Thursday, November 10, at 6 p.m. For more information visit marchofdimes.org or call 502.473.6683.