March to help babies set for Sunday

Published 12:17 pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

FRANKLIN—The Western Hampton Roads March to help babies will be held Sunday, May 19, at Barrett’s Landing.

The March of Dimes event will be held rain or shine but Division Executive Director Susan Smith said she anticipates a really good turnout.

“We hope it will be a record breaking turnout,” said Smith. She said close to 36 teams had signed up to participate in the five-mile fun walk.

She said it is truly a community event. “All of Franklin City Schools, Southampton Memorial Hospital, city government, families, churches, civic groups and businesses are involved,” she enthused.

Registration begins at 1 p.m. and the program starts at 2 p.m. The ambassador families and other dignitaries will kick-off the walk from the starting line.

Throughout the afternoon, there will be games, activities and refreshments. A DJ will provide music and Wendy’s provides food, said Smith. There will also be snow cones and popcorn, a bouncy house and obstacle course.

Smith anticipates a visit from a 1998 ambassador family as well.

One of the ambassador families is the Stith family — Sammy and his parents, Nellie and Samuel Stith.

According to a press release, the Stiths agreed to share the story of their son Sam to help prevent other families from the experience of having a premature baby.

Nellie was cared for at Southampton Memorial Hospital for weeks to prolong her pregnancy but eventually was transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Her baby was due in mid-June but the tiny little boy arrived in February at 23 weeks.

Samuel Jacob Stith lived his first 6 months at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughter with Nellie and Sam Stith visiting most days. “We burned out our car making the many trips”, said Nellie. “But I would have walked every day to see my baby.”

Sammy is now a third grade student at SP Morton Elementary School in Franklin. He participates in Book Buddy Program, and is a member of Cub Scout Pack 17 sponsored by United High Methodist Church and Boys and Girls Cub of Franklin. His teachers describe him as energetic and enthusiastic and one of the first to tell someone good job. His mother says that Sammy loves helping others, community events and Franklin High School football. “Once you meet him, you will never forget him,” she said.

Sammy has vision and hearing problems and other lifetime special needs but he has already surpassed doctors’ expectations of achievements.