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    2013 Wilkes County March for Babies Chairs Announced

    Wilkes County, North Carolina, January 30, 2013 —

    Local business leaders are working with the March of Dimes to prevent preterm birth to give more babies a healthy start in life.

    Today we are pleased to announce that Wilkes County business leaders, Gene Faile, CEO, Wilkes Regional Medical Center and Linda McNeil, Medical Associates of Wilkes are co-chairing the annual March for Babies campaign and walk in Wilkes County.

     March for Babies is the largest annual fundraising event for the March of Dimes, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2013. More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one of them through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.

    As March for Babies co-chairs, Faile and McNeil will play an integral role in raising awareness and funds to advance the scientific research and educational programs at the core of the March of Dimes efforts to prevent preterm birth and birth defects. 

    Gene Faile is an accomplished hospital CEO, specializing in leading rural hospitals to operational and financial success. Over his nearly 30 year career, he has led hospitals in several southern states, including Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina. As a result of his commitment to the delivery of excellence in patient care, Faile received awards in 2001 from Community Health Systems for achieving top scores in customer service and for quality.  He is also a veteran of the USAF. Following his military service, Faile attended the University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida and the University of West Florida. He is actively involved in improving the community and is on the Board of Directors of the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Peggy have been married 36 years; have a son Micah who lives in Rocky Mount with his wife and two children and a daughter Rebekah who is attending Appalachian State University.

    Linda McNeil has been on the Wilkes County March for Babies steering committee for a number of years.  She is the practice manager at Medical Associates of Wilkes which is a Novant Medical Group office.  She has been with Novant for 18 years and has worked in Healthcare 24 years.  Medical Associates of Wilkes has seven providers specializing in family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics. McNeil is married and has two children and three grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her family, bike riding, reading, and cooking.

     “My work with the March of Dimes is a real honor – especially during the Foundation’s milestone 75th anniversary year. March for Babies gives everyone in our community the chance to work together for stronger, healthier babies and make a difference in the lives of millions of babies,” said Faile.  “I can’t think of a more important cause than healthy babies. As a business leader, I know that preventing preterm birth can help our bottom line by lowering health care costs.”

    McNeil added, “Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and that’s just not acceptable. It takes leaders in our community working together to ensure moms have healthy pregnancies.”

    Faile and McNeil will play an integral role in raising awareness and funds to advance the scientific research and educational programs and the core of March of Dimes efforts to prevent preterm birth and birth defects. They are both excited and honored to be involved in the Foundation’s milestone 75th year and are encouraging people who have been involved before to Beat Their Best fundraising year in celebration of the 75th Anniversary. New teams and walkers are encouraged to get involved as well! The entire community is invited to the kickoff breakfast at The Stone Center on Thursday, February 28th at 8:00am. People can also register to participate at marchforbabies.org.

    Last year, the Wilkes County’s March for Babies raised more than $45,000. This year’s goal more than $50,000. Wilkes Regional Medical Center, Medical Associates of Wilkes, Wilkes Telecommunications, Wilkes County Schools and other area companies and organizations have already committed to helping reach this year’s goal.

    “I couldn’t be happier having Gene Faile and Linda McNeil serve as co-chairs,” said Ryan Nawrocki, Division Board Chairman for the North Carolina Chapter of March of Dimes. “I am sure they will bring the same drive, dedication and passion that made them both well-respected members of the community to their efforts on behalf of March for Babies. I know their contribution will go a long way to making this year’s event an unqualified success.”

    Wilkes County residents can sign up today at www.marchforbabies.org and start a team with co-workers, family and friends. Last year, more than 400 people attended the event -- which will be held May 11,  at the Greenway.

    In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life.  Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive.  Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects.  About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education.

    The 2013 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Famous Footwear, Actavis, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines. Local Sponsors: Wilkes Regional Medical Center, Medical Associates of Wilkes, Wilkes Telecommunications.

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