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    March for Babies Kicks-off 2013 March for Babies Campaign

    Hundreds Gathered at PNC Park To Learn About The Annual Walk to Help Babies

    Pittsburgh, PA, March 09, 2013 —

    More than 200 representatives from local companies, Family Teams and organizations and the Pirate Parrot were on hand for the March for Babies Kickoff Celebration at the Lexus Club in PNC Park.  Attendees enjoyed delicious food, fun, games and the chance to try out the indoor batting cages. Most importantly they learned how they can make a difference by supporting the March of Dimes annual March for Babies. 

    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.

    Guests were welcomed to PNC Park by Frank Coonelly, President of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Mr. Coonelly sent along his wishes for success via a video message.  Also participating in the morning’s activities were several special guests including Kim Fleming, Chairman and CEO of Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. and 2013 Pittsburgh March for Babies Chair. 

    “Participating in March for Babies is an important way to support the cause of healthy babies, especially during the Foundation’s milestone 75th anniversary year.” said Ms. Fleming.  “Whether you walk to celebrate a baby in your life or to honor one who did not survive, together we can work to prevent premature birth and other infant health problems and look forward to a day when every baby is born healthy and strong.”

    Joining Ms. Fleming was 11 year-old Taylor Tekulve, her parents Chris and Joanna and sister Lexi.  Taylor was born premature at just 23 weeks, weighing only 1 pound, 4 ounces.  She had problems breathing, multiple infections and had two eye surgeries to save her vision.  After 124 days in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), Taylor was finally able to come home.  Today, she is healthy 11 year-old, having overcome many struggles in her young life.  Taylor has no developmental delays and loves to play soccer, ski and swim.

    This year, the Pittsburgh March for Babies will be held on Sunday, June 2 at PNC Park.  Families and businesses throughout the area will join together in March for Babies to support the March of Dimes work of helping moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. The Pittsburgh March for Babies event is one of ten March for Babies that will be held in Western Pennsylvania from April 21 through June 2.

    Babies who are born too soon or sick usually spend weeks or even months in the hospital and they often have to cope with lifelong health problems or disabilities.  The emotional costs to families are high and so are the financial costs to families and their employers.  More than 20,000 companies big and small partner with the March of Dimes through March for Babies to reduce the burden and help improve the health of babies.

    Funds raised by March for Babies help support prenatal wellness programs, research grants, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) family support programs and advocacy efforts for stronger, healthier babies.  Currently, the March of Dimes is investing more than $99 million nationally and $4.5 million in Pennsylvania in research and programs. 

    Babies born in 2013 have a better chance for a long and healthy life than earlier generations, thanks to 75 years of health advances, made possible in part by the March of Dimes. They will live longer and are less likely to have a birth defect than babies born 75 years ago.  They are also much less likely to die from an infectious disease thanks to widespread use of vaccinations to prevent polio, rubella, measles and other infections.  

    The March of Dimes was founded in January 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  A polio sufferer himself, FDR founded the organization to “lead, direct and unify” the fight against polio. Today, about 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes helps each and every one of them through its history of research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.

    The March for Babies is sponsored nationally by Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, Macy’s, Cigna, Famous Footwear, Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, Actavis, First Response and United Airlines.  In Western Pennsylvania, March for Babies is sponsored by UPMC Health Plan, Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Geisinger Health System is the March of Dimes Pennsylvania Prematurity Partner.

    To join in, visit marchforbabies.org, or call 412-505-2200 to sign up as an individual; to start a corporate, family/friends team; or to donate to help babies be born healthy. 

    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 Facebookand follow us on Twitter.

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