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    Chicago shares birthday with the March of Dimes during its 75th Anniversary and March for Babies Kickoff

    Rowena Roxas, , (312) 596-4725, rroxas@marchofdimes.com

    City of Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely encourages Chicagoans to march to help babies

    Chicago, IL, March 08, 2013 —

    While the city of Chicago celebrated its 176th birthday this week, it also honored another birthday – the March of Dimes, which turned 75 this year.

    On March 5, Chicagoans officially celebrated the 75th birthday of the March of Dimes volunteer health organization, as well as the start to the March for Babies fundraising season. The March of Dimes has been supporting moms and babies through research, education, community programs and advocacy since 1938. March for Babies, held April 28, 2013, is the largest fundraiser and walk of the organization that takes place nationwide. The Chicago Lakefront March for Babies is at Grant Park also on April 28.

    Top family teams and corporate sponsors, as well as City of Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely, a longtime March of Dimes supporter, attended the kickoff and celebration. Referring to herself as “Justin’s mom,” Treasurer Neely wants all Chicagoans to do their part in seeing more babies born healthy. She also thanked the March of Dimes for its milestones, from fighting polio to discovering surfactant, a drug used to help a premature baby’s lungs grow.

    “I know how hard you are working to identify the causes of premature birth, and how deeply committed you are to giving every child a healthy start in life,” Treasurer Neely said.

    Treasurer Neely will also help kick off the largest March for Babies walk in the state, Chicago Lakefront March for Babies on April 28 at Grant Park. About 10,000 people will gather at Grant Park’s Butler Field (Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard) beginning at 8 a.m. for registration. The 3.1-mile walk kicks off at 9 a.m. and will be led by NBC 5’s Rob Elgas and Kye Martin.

    March for Babies also takes place in six other Chicagoland sites on April 28: Naperville, Elk Grove Village, Libertyville, Midlothian, Bolingbrook and St. Charles.

    March of Dimes’ March for Babies is the premier fundraiser and walking event of the March of Dimes. Each year, nearly 500,000 babies are born too soon. But far too many die, making premature birth the leading cause of death in newborns. In Illinois, 1 in 9 babies are born prematurely every year.

    The Kernan Family of Chicago is one of thousands of Illinois families who have been affected by premature birth. Pat and Jenny Kernan gave birth to premature twins, Kayla and Dylan. Kayla fought through her prematurity and is doing well today, but her brother Dylan was too sick and passed away shortly after birth.

    “I will feel forever indebted to the March of Dimes for helping to save Kayla's life.  Without their help, our story would be even more tragic,” said Jenny Kernan, whose family was named the Chicago Lakefront March for Babies Ambassador Family.

    In Illinois, 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to research, education, advocacy and community programs to support the health and well being of moms and babies.

    The March for Babies walk began in 1970 and has raised more than $2 billion to date. It takes place in about 750 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In its 43rd year, March for Babies is expected to draw more than 20,000 companies and 7 million people across America.

    For more information about March for Babies, or to join the Grant Park walk on April 28, sign up at: marchforbabies.org or call 312-435-4007.

    Some of the local sponsors of this walk are: The Dempster Family Foundation and KPMG. The media sponsor of Chicago Lakefront March for Babies is NBC 5. The 2013 national March for Babies sponsors are: Kmart, the March of Dimes No. 1 corporate sponsor, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Famous Footwear, Actavis, Mission Pharmacal and United Airlines.

    About March of Dimes

    In 2013, the March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary and continuing its work to help more babies get a healthy start in life. 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.org or nacersano.org.

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