Downtown Atlanta March for Babies Brings Over 17,000 Walkers
Event Features Special Appearance by Shaquille O’Neal and Raises More Than $1.25 Million to Help Babies Be Born HealthyAtlanta, Georgia, April 30, 2012
It was the best feel-good moment of the week when approximately 17,000 residents joined together in support of the smallest citizens of Atlanta - babies - by participating in the 2012 March of Dimes March for Babies. The Georgia World Congress Center plaza was packed with strollers, families and corporate teams who raised more than $1.25 million to help babies be born healthy.
Special guests at the event included Shaquille O’Neal, the 2012 March for Babies Celebrity Ambassador, and Kieran Wittstruck, the 2012 March of Dimes National Ambassador. Shaq took to the stage to energize the crowd with a dunk contest, featuring local children, and a countdown of top fundraising teams. As a father of six, he knows how important the mission of the March of Dimes is and he made sure to relay that message to the crowd.
‘We’ve seen today how important the health of moms and babies are to the people of Atlanta,” said 2012 March for Babies Chair Bill Jennings, Managing Director of Navigant. “I’m so proud to be part of a community where people come together for such a great cause. Helping our babies should be a top priority, and we’re excited about what we’ve accomplished here today.”
“It was a memorable and rewarding day for all of us,” said Marc Rawls, whose daughter Layla served as the 2012 Downtown Atlanta Ambassador. “When Layla was born at only 28 weeks, we decided we wanted to do everything possible to ensure that all families have a happy ending like ours. We’re honored to represent the March of Dimes in return for all the support they’ve given us and our family.”
Money raised by the event funds research, education and local community grants for programs such as the Angel II Neonatal Transport Unit and Clayton County Board of Health: Making Our Mothers Successful.
Premature birth is the most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today. It affects more than half a million babies each year and in an average week in Georgia, 375 babies are born premature. In November, the March of Dimes issued its annual Premature Birth Report Card, giving the nation a “C” and Georgia a “D.” Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have lifelong disabilities. The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the answers to premature birth and providing comfort and information to affected families.
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. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.
Local March for Babies sponsors include Southwest Airlines, Publix Supermarkets and Northside Hospital. National sponsors include the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Cigna, Famous Footwear, Sanofi Pasteur, FedEx, Mission Pharmacal, Watson Pharmaceuticals, First Response, and United Airlines.