March of Dimes is at the forefront of the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Nearly half a million babies in the U.S. are born prematurely or with birth defects each year. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributors to infant death in the U.S. and globally. The organization advocates for policies, supports research and provides resources and programs that prioritize prenatal and postpartum care. Their work raises awareness of the urgent health crisis as we all work toward a day when every mom and every baby is strong and healthy.
Here, EBONY shares firsthand accounts from people who’ve been impacted by March of Dimes’ important work.
March of Dimes has made the most significant impact on my life and my son’s—he wouldn’t be alive today without them. I was 27 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with preeclampsia, was admitted to the hospital and delivered Roman by emergency C-section. He weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces. He was given surfactant, a March of Dimes-funded treatment, to help him breathe. We spent 145 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before he could come home.
The work that March of Dimes does is so important because everyone benefits. Their research gives all babies the best possible start, including my Roman. We can support March of Dimes by donating money and time to events like March for Babies and by educating ourselves about healthy pregnancies. We also need to share that information with others!
Advocacy and volunteerism are so important to me because I can share my experiences and reassure people who may be going through a similar situation that you can get on the other side of it and what a joy it is to see your baby thrive. I will always give back to March of Dimes because they gave me my most precious gift, my beautiful son Roman.
As a neonatologist, I’ve had the privilege of specializing in the care of premature and sick infants—and their families—for 20 years.
It’s fair to say that every aspect of my life has been impacted by March of Dimes and their mission to save lives. The protein surfactant [which helps to open premature lungs] and newborn screenings for birth defects and heart defects help babies survive; I order these every day. March of Dimes was instrumental in funding these interventions. I’m surrounded by their commitment to strong moms and healthy babies in my work and personal life.
In 2018, women of color have an up to 50-percent higher rate of preterm birth than white women, even with access to prenatal care and health insurance. This is a health disparity, and March of Dimes is working hard to change it. I’ve seen how effective their advocacy can be with birth defects screenings and prenatal care.
While I’m doing my best to save lives in the ICU nursery, March of Dimes is doing their best to prevent more babies from being born premature or dying from preventable birth defects. Supporting March of Dimes empowers our communities, our families.
Terri Lynn Major-Kincade, MD, MPH
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Our family knows firsthand what it can mean when a baby is born too early. Our son, Kingston, was born unexpectedly at 23 weeks and 6 days. He weighed a mere 1 pound, 3.5 ounces and was considered a micro-preemie. The first few months of his life were challenging; he was very sick and struggled to survive. In the NICU, many of the treatments Kingston received were directly linked to March of Dimes research; without them, he may not have survived.
During our five months in the NICU, we saw that premature birth affects far too many babies, and we hope to see this change. March of Dimes is investing in projects to find the next breakthrough that will save babies’ lives. Their network of researchers and collaborators across the country, and their grassroots efforts, are making a difference for families like ours.
This is why our family feels it’s important to volunteer and support March of Dimes. We realize that by sharing our story, we might inspire people to not only support the organization but to also support all organizations raising awareness of issues surrounding maternal and infant health.
Stone Ridge, Virginia