Marching for babies

At the March of Dimes March for Babies event that took place Saturday morning at the Minot State University Dome, there may not have been any dimes circulating, but there was an excitable vibe in the air as families and friends took to the track to walk for their support of the cause and raise money for the organization.

The March for Babies event started with registration at 9 a.m. and an hour-long walk beginning at 10 a.m., followed by a lunch that was provided for all participants.

Karin Roseland, state director for March of Dimes, said she has been working for the organization for 11 years but is now personally involved since her daughter-in-law is having a baby who will be born with the intestines on the outside of the body. “If you had a baby, know a baby or been a baby, you have been impacted by the March of Dimes,” she added.

An organization known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis was founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 as a response to the polio epidemic in the United States. Vaudeville star Eddie Cantor came up with the name “March of Dimes” as a play on the newsreel series “The March of Time.” The organization used the name “March of Dimes” for the foundation’s annual fundraising event that requested each child donate a dime. Booths were set up at Christmas time in cities where children could drop their dimes in a slot. Eventually, the name became synonymous with that of the infantile paralysis organization and became known as the March of Dimes Foundation.

Their mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infantile mortality. They provide mothers, pregnant women and women of childbearing age with educational resources on baby health, pregnancy, preconception and new motherhood. They also supply information and support to families affected by prematurity, birth defects or other infant health problems.

For the March for Babies walk, Roseland said people sign up as teams or individuals and then come to the event, where they turn in their donations and walk for babies. At Saturday’s walk, they expected to raise $50,000, she added.

This event is important for people to know about because it gets people engaged, it’s a great community event and it’s a great cause to support, Roseland said. “It’s an opportunity to get everyone together,” she continued. “Premature babies grow up and they need a good start.”

The friendly atmosphere gave people plenty of opportunity to share their stories of their own experiences with premature births and the March of Dimes. Heather Thompson, walking with a team of family members, was at the event because of her son Colby. She said she started coming to the March for Babies event four years ago when her son was born 27 weeks early and in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 80 days. Thompson received some informational materials from the March of Dimes about what they do and thought it would be fun to participate in the walkathon to remember where they came from. She said she enjoys coming to the walk each year to see everyone and the event is a fun time. “It’s important to keep the money going into research so that babies aren’t premature or sick,” Thompson added.

Jennifer Moser, who is currently on active duty with the Air Force, was also enjoying the friendly and fun atmosphere of the March for Babies event. She and her husband, who is also on active duty with the Air Force and who was just deployed, have been participating in the march since their daughter Josephine was born in 2011. Moser said her daughter was six weeks premature and spent 13 days in the NICU and the March of Dimes gave a lot of information on how to care for a premature baby. “There were no warning signs in my case and March of Dimes is a group that is good for giving out information,” she added.

“I support (the March of Dimes) because it’s a good organization and there are positive vibes and you see all sorts of characters,” Moser said, noting a young man wearing an outfit resembling the Sugar Plum Fairy.