It was an unusually cool spring Sunday morning as the staff, faculty, students, and families of Ross Medical Education Center in Port Huron, Michigan gathered at the Blue Water Convention Center for the 48th Annual March of Dimes March for Babies. However, the crisp weather didn’t dampen the excitement in the air. The March for Babies walk started under the beautiful Blue Water bridges and continued in a four mile loop through downtown Port Huron. Purple, the color that represents the cause – premature birth, was everywhere in the form of t-shirts, hats, and even capes. Walkers proudly displayed signs with the names of the special babies in whose honor they were marching.
The March of Dimes was originally formed in 1938. At that time, Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States. As a teenager he contracted polio. and as a result, he was never able to walk on his own again. His illness shined a spotlight on the nation’s polio epidemic. By funding virus research, the March of Dimes was instrumental in developing the polio vaccine which was licensed for use in April of 1955. This tremendous victory also caused the March of Dimes to find a new focus.
In 1958, the foundation announced that their new mission would be birth defects prevention. Since that time, they have included focusing on having a healthy pregnancy, their slogan becoming, “Be Good to Your Baby Before It Is Born.” Major victories the March of Dimes has achieved include the development and distribution of the rubella vaccine and the mapping of the human genome.
Since 1970 the March of Dimes has held Walk-a-Thons as a major part of their fundraising efforts, and St. Clair County has participated every year since that time. The Ross Medical Education Center Port Huron campus was proud to participate for their seventh consecutive year. Stacey Clark, Assistant Campus Director of Education, stated, “this year we had an exceptional turn-out, with students and staff bringing along their families, pulling wagons, pushing strollers and even riding along on scooters. It has been an honor to serve as the Team Captain over the last seven years and watch our campus come together for such a worthy organization.”
After the four mile walk, participants were treated to refreshments as well as family friendly activities. There were games for children including an inflatable bounce house and obstacle course, as well as a lively DJ who provided music for all to enjoy. Admissions Representative Kristy Jackson brought her nine-year-old son along for this year’s March. “Volunteering with your children is a great way to teach them the importance of giving back to their community and also teach them to be empathetic towards others,” she said. “My son, Tony, was very proud to share with his third-grade class that he had marched to help make sure babies can be born healthy.”
If you would like to contribute to the cause, find out more information about the March of Dimes or the March for Babies, go to www.marchofdimes.org.