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    John Welty, President of California State University, Fresno Chairs March For Babies in 2012

    Sara Hyde-Lampa, State Director of Communications, March of Dimes California Chapter, (415)217-6371, shyde-lampa@marchofdimes.com

    Fresno, CA, February 24, 2012 —

    A staggering 12.9 percent of babies are born prematurely in the Central Valley each year, placing the region as one of the worst in California for rates of preterm birth. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the United States and can have life-long consequences for babies. March of Dimes premier event, March for Babies, raises funds for research, education and advocacy to fight preterm birth. In Fresno, March for Babies is chaired by Dr. John D. Welty, president of California State University, Fresno.  

     “March for Babies is something we can all stand behind,” said March for Babies Chair Welty. “I’m thrilled to chair the event in Fresno that can help us reach a day when all babies born here are born healthy and strong.”  

     March for Babies, the March of Dimes’ largest fundraising event, promotes lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies. Last year, the Fresno event raised more than $350,000. This year, the March for Babies Chair hopes to raise even more by focusing on new revenue and helping to raise awareness in the area.  

    In the Central Valley more than 6,800 babies are born too soon each year, and more than 300 don’t live to see their first birthday. Area residents can sign up today and start a team with co-workers, family or friends. The March for Babies walk in Fresno is a three mile walk, starting and ending in Woodward Park. This event will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012 and is expected to draw more than 3,000 participants.  

     March for Babies is presented by Sutter Health and is locally supported by Fresno State, Children’s Hospital Central California, Community Regional Medical Center, Wells Fargo and Ruiz Foods. National March for Babies sponsors include CIGNA, Farmers Insurance Group, Famous Footwear, FedEx, First Response, Kmart, Mission Pharmaceutical, Sanofi-Pasteur, United Airlines, and Watson Pharmaceuticals. Golden State sponsors are Toyota and Big 5 Sporting Goods.

    About the March of Dimes The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Visit us on the web in English and Spanish. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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