The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Kendall Toyota of Bend will be hosting a Fashion Show Fundraiser for the March of Dimes, called High Heels for High Hopes on Nov. 4. During the runway show, Bendites will take the stage and raise money to support March of Dimes programs and research. Learn more at the Bend Chamber’s Women’s Networking Event.
Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year and takes a high toll on families. Babies born just a few weeks early are at risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at a time when polio was on the rise. Better known as the March of Dimes, the foundation established a polio patient aid program and funded research for vaccines developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD. These vaccines effectively ended epidemic polio in the United States.
Its original mission accomplished, the foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. We have supported research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies. Our recent Folic Acid Campaign achieved a dramatic reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects, birth defects of the brain and spine.
Since 2003, our fight to save babies has been strongly characterized by our Prematurity Campaign. The rising incidence of premature birth has demanded action, and the March of Dimes has responded by initiating an intensive, multi-year campaign to raise awareness and find the causes of prematurity.
Prematurity is the #1 killer of children in the U.S. Every year, about 450,000 babies are born too soon in the United States. After rising by 36 percent over 25 years (1981-2006), our country’s preterm birth rate has declined by 11 percent over the last 7 years. However, the U.S. preterm birth rate remains too high at 11.4 percent, which is higher than that of most developed nations.