Sorority leads Prematurity Awareness Weekend

Published 11:14 pm Friday, November 19, 2010

Congregations throughout Suffolk will learn about the damaging effects of prematurity Nov. 20-21.

In hundreds of congregations throughout America, members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. will join congregational leaders in sending a message of hope for premature babies and their families.

Premature birth is the number one killer of newborns. In the last 20 years, the problem has become worse. Premature birth affects one in every eight babies in America. The rate is even higher among African-Americans for whom one baby in every six is affected. It’s a major cause of serious health problems and costs society billions of dollars every year.

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That’s why the March of Dimes is leading a national effort to save babies from premature birth by funding research to find the causes and by supporting local programs that offer hope and help to families with a baby in intensive care. As part of that effort, November is designated as Prematurity Awareness Month to remind everyone that premature birth is a crisis and to bring people together to help give all babies their nine months.

As a leading March of Dimes community partner, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., was among the first organizations to raise awareness about the consequences of premature birth. They held their first Prematurity Awareness Sunday in 2003 and participation has been growing ever since. This year, they’ll be sharing information about the problem, about how women can reduce their risks, and about how to support this effort, from wearing pink and blue to sending letters and raising funds.

Resources are available by visiting The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes website.