Local March of Dimes campaign begins

Published 10:51 am Saturday, March 16, 2013

FRANKLIN—The March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary and the local chapter held a kick-off breakfast Wednesday to promote this year’s campaign.

The 2013 campaign chairman is former Franklin Mayor James P. Councill, who said, “This year’s goal is to exceed the $25,500 set goal.”

Held at Southampton Memorial Hospital, a long-time sponsor of March of Dimes, the kick-off drew an attendance of 50 people. The campaign will last until the “March to help babies” set for Sunday, May 19, at Barrett’s Landing in Franklin.

Along with the SMH contingent, others that attended the kick-off included groups from Franklin Schools, Nottoway Elementary, Meherrin Elementary, Southampton High School, Wakefield Academy and family teams.

Greater Hampton Roads Division Executive Director Susan Smith said that from now until May 19, people will be holding fundraisers ranging from car washes to bake sales to online activity.

“Any club, group or individual can get involved,” she stressed.

Founded in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the organization formerly known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis is the only health organization to ever 100 percent meet its goal, Smith said.

Today the March of Dimes seeks to improve the health of babies by working to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, autism, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, cancer and learning disabilities are just some of the more than 100 causes that come under the March of Dimes research umbrella.

Smith said that the march is, “a true community walk, represented by churches, schools, scouts, city government, the hospital and families affected. The March of Dimes is funded by community members working to improve the health of our country.”

She added, “This community is carrying on a 75-year tradition of giving to make life better for others.”

When the March of Dimes first began fund-raising, Smith said that people sent in dimes.

“We are going back to that mindset where every penny, nickel and dime counts. No amount is too small.”

Any group or individual interested in participating in the “March for babies 2013”, can contact Smith at swsmith@marchofdimes.com or 383-8817.

The walk on May 19 will begin with registration at 1 p.m. and the march to start at 2 p.m. from Barrett’s Landing. Food and drinks have been donated, and a DJ will provide music for an afternoon of fun and a community gathering together for the needs of children.