NEWBERRY — Newberry County wants to help give every baby a fighting chance at a healthy life by ensuring that women have healthy, full-term babies.
On May 20, at 9:30 a.m. in Memorial Park, members of the community will have the chance to help these babies by participating in the March for Babies walk. Registration will begin at 9 a.m.
The ongoing mission of March of Dimes is to continue to improve the health of babies by raising money to help prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
“March of Dimes helps raise money to do research and to find ways to help prevent premature birth. They help research medications, procedures, stuff that can be done to pregnant women to prevent pre-term labor,” said Leann Hutto, Team Leader for Newberry Electric Cooperative.
CEO of Newberry Electric Cooperative Keith Avery is serving as the chairman for March for Babies.
Hutto stressed that this event is not just for premature babies, but for both pregnant women and healthy babies who were born full-term.
Nearly 4 million babies are born annually and around 380,000 of those babies are born pre-term and 120,000 are born with a birth defect. Although alarming statistics, even more alarming is that a total of 23,500 babies die before reaching their first birthday.
Those who want to participate don’t have to pay to register to walk, although any donations are welcome.
“Here at Newberry Electric we’ve done several things. We have payroll deduction, where people can actually get it taken out of their payroll to donate and we’ve done several fundraisers to raise money,” said Hutto.
During the event, there will also be kids races where a child can wear a cape if $20 is donated per child or $30 per family and the child will get to wear the cape during the race.
“Any money that is raised is great. Newberry Electric Cooperative has their goal of $15,000, so we hope to reach that goal. I think we’ll get pretty close to it,” said Hutto.
In 2016, a total of $45,000 was raised in the fight to help prevent premature births.
Each team is able to make their own T-shirt that will be judged after the walk. Each team will need someone to represent them and need to wear their shirts the morning of the walk. A plaque/trophy will be awarded to the winner.
Hutto said there is a want and need for the March for Babies to grow, saying that more involvement is needed within Newberry County, specifically in local businesses, to help raise money for babies.
Newberry Electric Cooperative has over 50 walkers that will be participating in March for Babies this year.
“I think everybody has been touched by the March of Dimes in some way, they just might not realize it. But even those women who take folic acid vitamins, that is part of March of Dimes and that was March of Dimes research to figure out so that it helped prevent so many birth defects. It touches people in a way and makes them want to come out and support,” said Hutto.
For more information on March of Dimes, visit www.marchofdimes.org.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.