This year as we prepared for our third March for Babies, I felt compelled to do a little more research about the background. I always knew it was an organization we supported due to our personal experience with premature birth and stint in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but didn’t know (or perhaps had forgotten) the full history.
The March of Dimes was originally founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 as National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) due to his personal experience with paralysis from polio. Through research grants, the polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD. Once the original mission as accomplished, the organization later changed its mission to the prevention of birth defects and infant mortality. Since that time, March of Dimes has supported research into the cellular and molecular basis of genetic diseases, developmental processes and abnormalities, and the epidemiology of premature birth to improve medical diagnosis and develop treatments for a wide range of birth defects and developmental disorders.
The March of Dimes is credited with leading the way to discover genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. They were instrumental in the research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies. These two initiatives were critical to our family since all four babies were born in respiratory distress and immediately admitted to the NICU. Finally, the March of Dimes Folic Acid Campaign achieved a dramatic reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects, birth defects of the brain and spine. Due to my diagnosis of MTHFR, early folic acid supplements helped me carry the quadruplets as long as I did.
Today, the March of Dimes official mission is,
“To improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality, and premature birth.”
In case you wonder exactly where donations are used, The March of Dimes spends 76¢ of every dollar raised in March for Babies to support research and programs that help babies begin healthy lives.
This year marked our third year to walk as a family team. Our first walk was a bit impromptu, but we found the walk to be an empowering experience. Last year was the first year we rallied a team to join us and purchased team t-shirts, which gave us a sense of cohesion. This year, I was hesitant to walk knowing George couldn’t join us due to work, but our family and friends promised to help me and rally around our family team. With that spirit, I ordered custom-made t-shirts from Custom Ink that would help identify our team members during the walk. Seeing our small sea of sapphire blue in the crowd warmed my heart and reminded me why we walk each year.
I would like to extend a special thanks to our friends and family who supported our March for Babies this year by making a donation to our team, purchasing a team t-shirt, and/ or walking with us. In no particular order: Steve, Denise, Courtney, Matt, Tiffany, Landry, Luke, Haylie, Ryleigh, Jason, Matt, Natalie, Molly, Sadie, Brandi, Garrett, Seth, Terri, A’ Lysia, Emmerson, Mina, Laayla, Jen, Priscilla, Marco, Sydney, Kristen, Alan, Devon, Marianne, George Jr., Carol, Lindsay, Sara, Billie, Guadalupe, and Karen.
Psst…..If you would like to make a donation to our team, it’s not too late! Please visit our team page to make a donation here.
The Origin of the March of Dimes
2 thoughts on “March for Babies”
I will always love March of Dimes for surfactant therapy, which one of my 29 weekers needed at birth. He’s a happy, healthy, perfect 3 year old today due in part to March of Dimes research! We walk on April 25th!
I’m so happy you are also walking! All four of mine benefitted from surfactant!