On Saturday, April 28 our community will be walking in March for Babies to give hope to the families of babies born too soon or sick -- more than 7,200 each year in Minnesota alone.
The money we raise will support March of Dimes research and programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies right here in Northern Minnesota.
It funds research to find answers to the serious problems that threaten our babies, like premature birth. Affecting more than half a million babies in our country each year, premature birth is the #1 cause of newborn death and the rate of premature birth continues to rise.
Registration for March for Babies at DECC is at 9:00 am. The walk starts at 10:00 am. See you there!
Dr. Thomas Patnoe, who is President of SMDC Health Systems and serves on the Essentia Health CEO Counsel knows how important the March of Dimes mission is. As a healthcare leader, he has taken on the role of Chair of the 2012 March for Babies in Duluth to raise awareness and important funding to provide for babies who are born premature or with birth defects.
“Each year, about 1,500 babies are born at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. One in 10 babies in Minnesota is born premature, and as a state, we can do better," said Dr. Patnoe. "It takes leaders in our community working together to ensure moms have healthy pregnancies.”
Chris and Jessica Gruska walk in the Duluth March for Babies in honor of their three children: triplets Anastyn, Noah and Cole. When Jessica learned she was having triplets, she knew it would be a challenge to have a full term pregnancy. 90 percent of triplets are born premature and the Gruska’s were born at 32 weeks gestation.
Anastyn was born first weighing three pounds, nine ounces. She was followed by Noah and Cole who each weighed three pounds, 12 ounces. “When Anastyn was born, I thought to myself ‘please cry, please cry’,” shared Jessica. “When she finally cried, I cried myself. I was so relieved to hear her and then Noah and Cole.”
The babies were whisked away to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. The NICU would be their home for the next three and a half weeks. March of Dimes led the drive to put NICUs within the reach of every baby. “It was wonderful to be able to hold them for the first time,” said Jessica. “At the same time, it was overwhelming to see all of the tubes and IVs coming out of them.”
Like many babies born eight weeks early, the triplets needed help breathing and eating. They also developed jaundice and needed treatment. March of Dimes has long supported research aimed at improving prevention and treatment of newborn jaundice.
Anastyn, Noah and Cole are happy, healthy children who keep their parents busy. They will turn two years old just days before the Duluth March for Babies on Saturday, April 28 at the DECC.
“Without the research provided by the March of Dimes that has assisted pregnant women and newborns, our family would not have had as good of an outcome. We are very thankful for that.”