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March for Babies fundraiser kicks off Tuesday at SMH

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By The Staff

The March of Dimes is gearing up for its annual walk.

Walk-America, the March of Dimes largest fundraiser, which brought in $117 million nationwide last year, has been renamed March for Babies. The new name makes a clear connection to what the March of Dimes is all about – babies' health.

"The name of our event has changed, but our mission stays the same - working towards the day when every baby is born healthy," said Phyllis Stroud, executive director of the March of Dimes North Central Division.

"We hope that the new name will bring more people on board to help make that day a reality," she said.

Stroud emphasizes that the mission priority of the March of Dimes is to fight the growing crisis of prematurity.

"Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and we are committed to reducing its toll," Stroud said. "By engaging more people in our mission, and educating more pregnant women and moms about healthy babies, we hope to reach that goal much sooner."

March for Babies will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 25 at Springdale Park. Lancaster, Chester and Kershaw residents can sign up today to help fund lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies.

Last year, residents in the Lancaster area raised nearly $60,000. Funds raised by this March for Babies event support research and grants awarded to programs that improve infant and maternal health in South Carolina.

The March of Dimes March for Babies kickoff will be at noon Tuesday at Springs Memorial Hospital. Participants can pick up March for Babies materials, see the new video and register for door prizes.

Besides a new name, March for Babies has a new Web site. Interested walkers and donors can visit marchforbabies.org or call ((803) 328-0929 to sign up as an individual, corporate or family team or to make a donation.

The new name of its premier event is part of a larger March of Dimes initiative focused on all babies – those born healthy as well as those who need help to survive and thrive. The March of Dimes also has released a new public service advertising campaign, and is offering pregnant women and moms new medical information in new ways that fit their active lifestyle.

"In the Lancaster, Chester and Kershaw area, we are proud also to be sponsored by Founders Federal Credit Union, Duracell, Omnovia Solutions, Springs Memorial Hospital, Advanced Construction and Consulting and Comporium Communications," Stroud said.

This year's national March for Babies sponsors are CIGNA, Continental Airlines, Famous Footwear, Farmers, FedEx, Grain Foods Foundation, Liberty Tax Services, nesting.com and Kmart, the March of Dimes No. 1 corporate partner, which has raised more than $63 million for babies."Additional national sponsorship is provided by Discovery Health, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Outdoor Services and Ther-Rx.

Last year, the South Carolina March of Dimes invested more than $4.2 million in program services, including research grants and local community services."The March of Dimes is seeking ways to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina's increasing premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.