It's the time of year when you start seeing walks or runs being organized as fund raisers for various organizations. I want to talk a little about the March of Dimes. Much of the following was taken directly from the March of Dimes web site.
The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. They carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies' lives. March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, low birth weight.
Each year, more than 460,000 babies are born too soon, some so small they can fit in the palm of a hand. Many of these babies must fight just to survive; others will struggle with lifelong health problems. No one knows what causes half of all premature births. No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to find out.
Genetic birth defects leave our children unable to walk, to hear, to think, or even to fight off disease. March of Dimes investments in genetic research already are starting to yield results. Two March of Dimes-funded grantees have used gene therapy successfully in treating hemophilia and retinitis pigmentosa in the lab, giving hope that we are closer to a cure for these genetic birth defects.
No parents should have to choose between feeding their child and buying the medicines he or she needs. Yet, this happens every day in America because more than 9 million children have no health coverage. For many of these children, this means they can't get preventive checkups, immunizations, or treatment for common childhood illnesses. The March of Dimes is fighting so that all babies, children and pregnant women get health insurance.
Has any of the above affected me or mine? No. We've been lucky. I'd like to tell you about a family who has dealt with premature birth -- the Kolkhorst family. Coy was born December 3, 2007 at 23 weeks gestation -- a micro premie. One of those babies that fit in the palm of your hand. Thankfully, today he is thriving. A miracle. A reason for Coy's early birth was never found.
Ann Marie is pregnant again and on bed rest. That doesn't keep Ann Marie or her family for preparing for the upcoming March of Dimes walk.
From the Kolkhorst blog:
In honor of our precious miracle, Coy Christopher Kolkhorst, the Kolkhorst family is participating in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies on April 26, 2009. Coy is the reason we have joined together to raise money and participate in this event. We are praying that it will soon be discovered why babies are born prematurely or with birth defects so that other families will never experience this. All of you have played a special part in supporting Coy through the last fifteen months, and we would appreciate any additional support you can offer to help March of Dimes.
Please think about supporting the March of Dimes in your area. If you have a moment, go visit Ann Marie, Chris and Coy. Read Coy's story. Keep them in your thoughts.