Ashley Summers 2017-03-03 01:24:42
March of Dimes continues the fight for healthy moms and babies In January 2015, Andrea Rodbro gave birth to twins more than three months before their due date. Each weighed about two pounds, and they were immediately rushed to intensive care where they fought for their lives. It wasn’t until three months after they were born that Andrea Rodbro could finally take her boys home from the hospital. Now thriving 2-year-olds, Benjamin and Levi survived their premature birth, but many babies do not. In fact, premature birth is the No. 1 killer of babies, and the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5, worldwide. Here in Illinois, one in every 10 babies is born prematurely. “We need more advances in care for premature infants,” says Andrea Rodbro, a member of the March of Dimes Chicago Board of Directors. “When my twin boys were born prematurely, I missed out on that joyful moment that most parents experience because of fear and worry. No parent should have that joyful experience taken away from them.” March of Dimes is leading the fight to fund research, education and advocacy to help improve the rate of premature birth and protect the overall health of moms and babies. The organization recently opened a network of five March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers to help find the unknown causes and cures for premature birth. Locally, at the March of Dimes Chicago Prematurity Research Center, investigators are determining how genes play a role in premature birth. In Springfield, March of Dimes helps pass laws that protect maternal-infant health in Illinois. The organization does advocacy work in Washington, D.C., to help prevent Zika from infecting pregnant women and causing birth defects. This work is largely supported through special events such as the annual March of Dimes Construction and Transportation Awards Luncheon and the March of Dimes fundraising walk: March for Babies. Thousands of families, companies and individuals will join March for Babies in April and May in communities throughout the greater Chicago area for a day to hope, remember and celebrate, while supporting the life-saving work done by March of Dimes. “March for Babies is a day filled with incredible moments all to help benefit the health of babies,” says Ashley Summers, executive director for March of Dimes Chicago. “It’s the perfect complement to one of our biggest corporate events of the year: our Annual Construction and Transportation Awards Luncheon.” At the luncheon, about 400 industry professionals and local, elected officials come together to honor leaders in Chicago construction and transportation. It’s the largest event of its kind in the Midwest and benefits the lifesaving work led by March of Dimes. “A preterm birth can happen to any pregnant woman no matter her race, economics, geography or health,” Summers says. “As a community, we must come together to find a cure for prematurity and support the health and well-being of babies today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”
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