March for Babies

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COLUMBIA – Hope. Remember. Celebrate. That was the message of this years March for Babies fundraising walk to raise awareness towards the issue of premature births.

The two and a half mile walk that started at Stephens Lake Park was greeted with perfect weather for the occasion. The planned marches in St. Louis and Jefferson City were already canceled due to weather concerns, according to volunteers on hand.

Many families came out to help raise money and awareness of the issue, in addition to sharing stories of their experiences with premature births.

“We are here to honor our twins Margret and Matilda who were born at 27 weeks and spent time at Boone Hospital,” mother of the twins, Whitney Manda, said.

The families who came were very appreciative of the support the community showed throughout the festivities.

“We are just very lucky to have the staff at the Hospital and this great cause to provide so much support so that they could make it,” Manda said.

The youngest ever premature birth to survive in Mid-Missouri, who was born at 22 weeks, was on hand with his dad, all by happy accident.

“I was just out taking my son to the park and I notice the March of Dimes and MU celebration here and it turns out he is, to our knowledge, the earliest survivor period in the whole state actually,” David Beversdorf said.

The events of the day consisted of music provided by local radio stations, face painting, a bounce house, and, most importantly, stations of remembrance for babies who didn’t survive premature birth.

“March of Dimes takes care of birth defects and research so that every baby can be born healthy,” volunteer April Cockrell said.

The goal is to raise 40,000 dollars and, as of Sunday, March for Dimes already raised over half of that amount and hopes to continue raising money to support the cause.