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    MARCH OF DIMES CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF BREAKTHROUGHS FOR BABIES DURING NOVEMBER - PREMATURITY AWARENESS MONTH

    Louisville, KY, November 01, 2013 —

     

    An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year and more than one million of them do not survive their early birth. Although the United States has seen six consecutive years of sustained improvement in its preterm birth rate, it has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country.  

     

    As organizations around the world observe World Prematurity Day this November, the March of Dimes also celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to give all babies a healthy start in life.   About 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Many of these efforts have benefited premature babies.

    Prematurity Awareness events happening throughout November in Louisville include (details for these activities can be found at marchofdimes.com/Kentucky):

    ·         On Thursday, November 7 at 6:00 p.m. the public is invited to a free lantern lighting event at Passport Health Plan (5100 Commerce Crossings) when dozens of lanterns will be released into the night sky to honor or remember special babies in our lives.

    ·         Monday, November 11 through Sunday, November 17, the March of Dimes NICU Family Support group will host a kangarooathon and hug-themed activities throughout the week.  The group will also host a HUGapalooza party for the families of babies in Norton Suburban Hospital’s NICU on Sunday, November 17. These events are not open to the public.

    ·         On Thursday, November 14 at 6:00 p.m. the annual Louisville “Signature Chefs” fundraiser will take place at the Marriott Downtown.

    ·         On Friday, November 15 the Greater Kentucky Chapter of the March of Dimes will celebrate Prematurity Awareness Day by asking the public to wear purple.

    • On Friday, November 22, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, leading obstetricians, neonatologists, public health officials, nurses, and other maternal and child health professionals, from around the Commonwealth, are being updated on the latest developments in preventing premature birth. Contact the Greater Kentucky Chapter at 502-473-6672 for information about the Kentucky Perinatal Summit.
    • From November 1-29, you can see the LG&E building at the corner of Main and Third Streets lit up in purple, and from November 15-17, you can see the Big Four Bridge ramp shining in purple light to symbolize hope for a healthy start for more babies. 

    November 17 will be recognized around the globe as the third annual World Prematurity Day.   More information is available at: http://facebook.worldprematurityday. The Facebook page will feature messages from internationally recognized celebrities.

    Singer Celine Dion created public service messages in English and French to help raise awareness about the need to prevent preterm birth and the work being done to give more babies a healthy start in life.  The video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN8Ggjb9hWg

    Latin Grammy Award winning recording artist, actress, and media personality Thalia, the March of Dimes Global Ambassador, taped a message in Spanish and English. The video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrtmRQEjZ7o

    Anne Geddes, world-renowned photographer known for her pictures of infants, filmed a “virtual hug” for the March of Dimes campaign. She donated a one of her photographs of international singer Celine Dion for us to use as a public service announcement. The video of Anne Geddes’ hug, is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC6sdgJHnMU

    As part of World Prematurity Day, families and volunteers can send their friends a “virtual hug” through Facebook and other social media sites to show that they care about premature babies.   The “Hugs” campaign dramatizes the benefits of Kangaroo care, when parents cuddle their premature baby skin-to-skin. Kangaroo care comforts the baby, AND also can improve the baby’s health by keeping the baby warm, stabilizing the baby’s heart rate, helping the baby gain weight and reducing discomfort.

     The March of Dimes was founded January 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to “lead, direct and unify” the fight against polio. In FDR’s day, polio was an epidemic disease that paralyzed or killed up to 52,000 Americans, mostly children, every year.  The March of Dimes galvanized America to defeat polio and fulfilled FDR’s dream of a nation free of this fearful disease.  It funded the development of the Salk vaccine which was licensed in 1955, as well as the Sabin vaccine which became available in 1962.  Nearly all babies born today still receive a lifesaving polio vaccine.

    Now, the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the Ohio Collaborative is bringing together the brightest minds from many disciplines -- geneticists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, engineers, computer scientists and many others -- to work together and find answers to explain and prevent preterm birth.

    The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign is supported by Destination Maternity, the WellPoint Foundation, and gifts from millions of individual donors.

    ­­­­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.  Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

    -          END -

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