In November of 2011, we volunteered for the March Of Dimes on World Prematurity Day. Erica and I had the opportunity to visit babies in the NICUs of our local hospitals. Unfortunately, the girls were not able to participate because of their age. They were disappointed because they would have loved to visit the babies, experience the emotions, and learn more about premature birth. I am not sure, however, that they could have handled seeing small babies hooked up to large machines. It was an emotional experience for us and it would have been for them as well. That experience triggered a passion in me to help the March of Dimes fulfill its mission so I decided to join the board of directors. I am committed to improving the lives of babies and reducing premature births in our area.
I am thankful that another opportunity came around to volunteer for the March of Dimes. The March for Babies is a walking fundraiser that raises money to support community programs and funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten babies. We have volunteered at and walked in many walks over the years, but this was our first experience with the March for Babies. We have been spoiled with many days of awesome weather this spring. This particular Saturday, however, was not so nice. It was cold and it rained most of the morning. Mother Nature did not cooperate. The terrible weather did not keep the people away nor did it damper their spirit. They were there to support a great organization. They were there to walk for the premature babies in their lives. Those that survived and those that did not.
This volunteer activity gave us a chance to serve as a family. Erica volunteered to share her expertise as a photographer by agreeing to photograph the event. She took pictures of families as they arrived in Headwaters Park. She brought teams together for a team photo while capturing the smiles of so many precious babies. The girls and I worked a mission table inside the registration tent. We provided walkers with the opportunity to wear a paper foot to honor who they were walking for on this day. There were five different colors each of which represented something different. Individuals and families selected which color represented them and they wrote the names of babies on them. It was difficult to watch so many people grab the Gold foot. This represented those who walked in honor of infant mortality. These were the families that experienced the loss of a child. Many of them were wearing shirts with pictures of their son or daughter commemorating a short, but special life. I asked myself why I was lucky enough to have two healthy, full-term children. Many others are not as fortunate. That is why we have to help the March of Dimes continue its research and education. Premature birth is a national crisis that affects 1 in 8 babies in our country. These statistics are staggering and unacceptable. Money is needed to continue to the fight and the March for Babies is a great event that helps the cause.
We are happy to have had the chance to help the March of Dimes once again. The work this organization does truly saves lives. We, like many, have been impacted by premature birth. Erica was a premature baby born four weeks early with a collapsed young. Friends and family have had premature babies who have survived and live healthy lives today. These stories of survival are possible due to work done by March of Dimes. They save babies. I want you to visit www.marchofdimes.com and learn more about the organization. Read the stories and find a way to get involved. Don’t do it for me. Do it for the Cockrell family. Do it for babies like Addison.