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March of Dimes Joins the Million Moms Challenge with ABC News and the UN Foundation

, Thursday, December 08, 2011

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Todd Dezen, (914) 997-4608, tdezen@marchofdimes.com

David Ford, (212) 456-7243, david.ford@abc.com

Eric Porterfield, (646) 637-6438, eporterfield@unfoundation.org

First-of-its-kind Campaign Connects a Million Americans with Millions of Moms in Developing Countries Across the Globe

NEW YORK, N.Y., December 8, 2011 – Today the March of Dimes is joining ABC News and the United Nations Foundation in the recently launched Million Moms Challenge. This first-of-its kind initiative is connecting millions of Americans with millions of moms in developing countries around the world to engage on the critical issues of pregnancy, childbirth and children's health -- moms here helping moms worldwide.

Since its launch on September 19th, 2011, the Million Moms Challenge has built a vibrant community that connects moms across the globe by using the latest social media strategies together with world-class broadcast and digital news platforms to shine a light on the extraordinary challenges faced by mothers and babies in the developing world.

Stories based on compelling characters and innovative solutions are featured on ABC News’ broadcasts including “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” and “20/20,” as well as other ABC News platforms including ABCNews.com and ABC News Radio. The initiative will lead up to a one-hour prime time special on maternal health anchored by Diane Sawyer on December 16, 2011.

“There is so much we can do together – so many simple ways for us all to link arms to make sure every mother and child has a chance to lead a healthy life,” said ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.

The Million Moms Challenge will focus on things mothers care about: the right nutrition to support their pregnancies, skilled attendants to assist in safe deliveries of newborns, and vaccines that allow children to survive to celebrate their first birthdays and beyond.

“We applaud ABC News and the United Nations Foundation efforts to improve the health of women and children around the world,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Our global initiative for the prevention of premature birth, is of particular interest given that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States.”

As part of the initiative a dedicated website (www.millionmomschallenge.com) provides a live, interactive forum for some of the nation’s top mom bloggers to share their stories and ideas through blogs and video posts in real time with moms and midwives in the developing world. Viewers who want to know more and get involved will find ways large and small to make a difference in their own communities and around the world. The Million Moms Challenge hopes that at least a million Americans will join the movement by signing up on the Challenge’s website and /or on Facebook.

“You don’t have to be a mom to help a mom,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “A healthier tomorrow for our world starts with healthy moms and babies today. The Million Moms Challenge gives us the chance to make history by sharing stories, ideas and sparking a global conversation that will help the United Nations build a global partnership for healthy lives,” she added.

In addition to the March of Dimes, the Million Moms Challenge partners include the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, African Medical and Research Foundation, CARE, Every Mother Counts, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, GAVI Alliance, mothers2mothers, ONE Campaign, Partners in Health, Riders for Health, Save the Children, UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, US Fund for UNICEF, White Ribbon Alliance, and WorldVision.

Along with ABC News and the UN Foundation, Johnson & Johnson and BabyCenter are corporate partners in the initiative. BabyCenter is encouraging 10 million moms in the US and 14 million moms overseas to take the challenge and stand up for moms and babies around the world. For the first 100,000 people who sign on to the Million Moms Challenge or like the Challenge on Facebook, Johnson & Johnson will donate $100,000 to some of the biggest NGO partners helping moms and babies overseas.

The Million Moms Challenge is part of an ABC News year-long global health series “Be the Change: Save a Life,” which is sponsored in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For more information about the Million Moms Challenge visit www.millionmomschallenge.com. To get involved in the conversation about healthy moms and babies around the world, follow @AMillionMoms on Twitter and use the hash-tag #MillionMomsChallenge. You can also like Million Moms on Facebook at facebook.com/millionmomschallenge.

About March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, 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.

About ABC News

ABC News is responsible for all of the ABC Television Network’s news programming on a variety of platforms: television, radio and the Internet. Its flagship program is “World News with Diane Sawyer” with other programs including “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “Primetime,” “20/20,” and the Sunday morning political affairs program “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.” With an average television and radio audience of 180 million people in a given month, ABC News surpasses the competition. More than 2,400 affiliate stations broadcast ABC News Radio’s global news coverage. In addition, ABC News NOW is a 24-hour news and information network currently available to 44 million users across cable, broadband, and mobile platforms. NewsOne, the affiliate news service of ABC News, provides live and packaged news, sports, and weather reports, as well as footage of news events, to 200 ABC affiliates and more than 30 domestic and international clients. Visit www.abcnews.com.

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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