Hundreds march for babies
Published 8:10 pm Saturday, April 23, 2016
Hundreds of supporters marched near downtown Suffolk Saturday to bring attention to the cause of preventing premature birth and birth defects.
“We had a good turnout,” said Rachel Boyd, community manager for the March of Dimes, adding that excellent weather aided the event, which started at Constant’s Wharf and led walkers through the area.
The fundraiser’s goal was $78,000, and the event has raised $74,000 so far.
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“This is an awareness walk to bring awareness to the city of Suffolk for mothers and babies,” Boyd added. “The overall mission of the March of Dimes is to end premature birth and birth defects.”
The organization also funds research for autism, cleft lips and cleft palates and other birth defects and disorders of young childhood.
Maurice and Rickeda Fofana participated with Team Akil, in memory of their son who was born prematurely about eight years ago. About 20 to 25 people are on the team, Maurice Fofana said.
“We walk in his honor every year,” Rickeda Fofana said.
As always, Suffolk Public Schools had a huge contingent of participants, including teachers, staff, parents and students from many of its schools. John Yeates Middle School was the No. 1 school for fundraising, followed by Creekside, Hillpoint, Pioneer and Oakland elementary schools.
Bethanne Bradshaw, public information officer for Suffolk Public Schools, is the chair of the event.
“Our message today is one of hope and support to the moms and families in our community whose babies were born too soon or very sick,” Bradshaw said. “Nearly four million babies are born each year in the United States, and every one of them benefited from March of Dimes research, vaccines and programs. However, each year the families of about 380,000 babies are thrust into a frightening world of uncertainty because their child were born too soon. You’re here because you want to help fight premature birth and other problems.”
For more information on the organization, visit www.marchofdimes.org.