March of Dimes celebrates 75

Published 12:09 pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

The March of Dimes is celebrating 75 years. This Sunday, many local teams consisting of members of civic groups, churches, families, Southampton Memorial Hospital, Franklin and Southampton Schools, city government and area business will participate in the March for Babies.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes to combat polio in 1938. The epidemic disease paralyzed or killed more than 52,000 Americans, mostly children, every year. Dr. Jonas Salk, a 1950s March of Dimes grant recipient, eradicated polio with the discovery of the Salk vaccine.

When the event kicked off earlier this year, a packet of information about March of Dimes was supplied to The Tidewater News. Some of the accomplishments of this organization are remarkable and are highlighted.

Babies born in 2013 can expect to live about 78 years, which is 16 years longer than babies born in 1938;

Babies born in 2013 are seven times less likely to die in infancy than babies born in 1938;

Today’s babies have a lower risk of developing vaccine preventable diseases;

Many birth defects have declined because of research, screenings and education; and

Neural Tube defects such as Spina Bifida have declined by 26 percent since 1998 when March of Dimes launched a public education campaign for women to take a daily multi-vitamin containing folic acid.

There are many families affected by children’s birth defects and research under the March of Dimes umbrella helps provide research to assist the future for these children.

Locally, several families will participate in Sunday’s Walk as Ambassadors. The event is held at Barrett’s Landing beginning with registration at 1 p.m. and the walk starts at 2 p.m.

We commend the March of Dimes for its continued assistance to helping with baby health, working to prevent defects, premature birth and infant mortality. And we commend all the local groups participating in Sunday’s worthy fundraising event.