In observance of the 6th annual World Prematurity Day, the March of Dimes is hand-delivering thousands of individual messages of hope and support sent by the public to premature and sick babies in hospital newborn intensive care units (NICUs) and their families around the country.
Cards and letters created online and in parent support groups for the March of Dimes Give them tomorrow initiative will be delivered today at events at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL; The Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center; and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where participants are to include University of Houston men’s basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson and senior forward Danrad Knowles.
“The parents of premature babies can feel isolated and uncertain about the future,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Our visit to the NICU today is to encourage these families and celebrate with them as part of World Prematurity Day that every baby deserves a fighting chance.”
Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the #1 killer of babies in the United States. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy, and intellectual delays. About 15 million babies worldwide are born too soon each year.
The March of Dimes leads the World Prematurity Network, (WPN), a global coalition of consumer and parent groups working together to raise awareness and prevent premature birth in their countries. Through World Prematurity Day and other joint efforts, members call for action to prevent premature birth and improve care for babies and children. About 50 countries are participating in World Prematurity Day 2016 with purple lightings of famous buildings and landmarks — including the Empire State Building in New York City — wearing purple, sharing personal stories, outdoor events, and other demonstrations of support.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. Launched in fall 2016, Give them tomorrow unites the efforts of the March of Dimes, corporations, organizations, and individuals to raise awareness and fund the fight against premature birth. Give them tomorrow is supported by generous corporate partners including Mud Pie, Philips Avent, Famous Footwear, ALEX AND ANI, ALDI, Bon-Ton, and Anthem Foundation.
Mud Pie provided baby socks as gifts for NICU parents at the events in New York, Chicago and Houston to honor the baby whose poignant tale inspired them to find a meaningful way to ensure healthy first steps for all babies. Today, Mud Pie donates a dime to the March of Dimes for every pair of baby socks sold.