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Nationwide Campaign to Wear Purple For Be A Hero For Babies Day®

, Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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Todd Dezen, (914) 997-4608; tdezen@marchofdimes.com
Elizabeth Lynch, (914) 997-4286; elynch@marchofdimes.com

March of Dimes and Famers Insurance Working to Give More Babies Healthy Start in Life

WHITE PLAINS, NY, June 19, 2012 –The March of Dimes and Farmers Insurance is asking everyone to wear purple to show support for healthy babies and the 7th annual Farmers Be a Hero for Babies Dayon Thursday, June 21st.

Farmers Insurance, which has raised more than $40 million in its 25-plus year partnership with the March of Dimes, began Be A Hero for Babies Dayin 2006 with the goal of raising $1million in a single day to support March of Dimes education and research programs that help women have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.

Locally, Farmers agents will host fun community events like pancake breakfasts, golf tournaments and picnics to raise money on Be a Hero For Babies Day to help America’s babies. Anyone can support the day by wearing purple or by making a donation at www.marchofdimes.com/farmers.

“Farmers agents are heroes for babies every day. They use their time, energy, talent and financial resources to work alongside March of Dimes to improve the health of America’s babies," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of March of Dimes, “We are excited to launch this year’s event. I’m wearing purple on June 21st and encourage everyone to as well. I commend Farmers agents for their dedication and hard work to insure the health of families.”

Local television affiliates from around the country are also participating calling on their colleagues across the country to wear purple and show their support for Farmers Be A Hero for Babies Day.

Dorine Fournier Smith, who works at CBS and CW affiliate KOVR/KMAX, gave birth to twin daughters 3 1/2 months early. They each weighed less than a pound and a half. Sadly, the smallest baby passed away at two days old. The surviving twin stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for more than three months before finally being able to come home. "Today Adrianna is a happy, normal baby, partly because of the amazing research provided by the March of Dimes," said Smith, who is calling on her co-workers across the country to wear purple to support Be a Hero for Babies Day. "I don't want any other mother to experience the pain I did when my daughter died because of her premature birth."

Amy Freeze, weather anchor at WABC-TV in New York, adopted a premature baby and is also helping support Be a Hero for Babies Day by calling on people across the country to wear purple on June 21st. “I spent several weeks looking through the glass as doctors and nurses went to great lengths to save our fragile little girl, Kate’s life,” said Freeze. “Every day I give thanks that doctors were able to successfully treat Kate’s heart problems and credit the March of Dimes for helping fund prevention and care for babies born too soon.”

Preterm birth is a serious and complicated health problem that costs the nation more than $26 billion annually, according to a 2006 institute of Medicine Report on preterm birth. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death and babies who survive an early birth face serious life long health challenge, include breathing problem, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.

As the nation’s third-largest personal property and casualty insurance group, Farmers is committed to improving the communities where their customers, agents and employees live and work.

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.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.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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