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The March of Dimes Maryland-National Capital Area Chapter is pleased to announce that Rebecca Bridgett of Charlotte Hall will serve as chair for Bikers for Babies in Southern Maryland.

“It is truly my honor to serve as the chair for this very worthy cause. With the increase in awareness and funding, we can ensure each baby is born healthy,” said Bridgett, acting director of Human Resources for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, in a press release. Bridgett is a lifelong resident of Charles County. She and her husband, Dennis, are Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts and longtime supporters of the March of Dimes.

“The involvement of high-profile local leaders is a key element in our goal of helping more babies come into the world healthy,” said Jennifer Abell, senior community director for the March of Dimes in Southern Maryland, in the release. “We are fortunate to have someone so dedicated to our cause.”

Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year, including 9,568 in Maryland, according to the release. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. More than 120,000 babies are born each year with serious birth defects that can mean a lifetime of disability. Babies born healthy need champions, too, to be sure they have access to newborn screening and preventive health care. The March of Dimes is there for all babies.

In Southern Maryland, Bikers for Babies will take place Oct. 7 at Maryland International Raceway. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the ride starts at 2 p.m.

There will be a tattoo contest and bike show at noon along with vendors and music. Individual riders as well as members of clubs can join to help fund life-saving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies.

Participants will ride the open road, covering 45 miles starting at Maryland International Raceway and ending at Apehangers Bar & Grill for an after-ride party. The party will include a free bull roast and music by The Craze and Naked. Supporters who aren’t able to participate in the ride are encouraged to meet the riders at Apehangers to attend the party (a $20 donation to the March of Dimes will be taken at the door). All motorcycles are welcome, and the ride will be held rain or shine.

“It’s easy to join me,” Bridgett said in the release. “Just visit www.bikersforbabies.org , stop by Apehangers for a sponsor envelope or contact Jennifer Abell at the March of Dimes, 571-257-2310.”

Volunteer, vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available, too.

Millions of babies have been saved from death or disability thanks to advances made by March of Dimes-funded scientists, the release states. But too many babies are still born prematurely or with birth defects. Every year, thousands of compassionate motorcyclists across the country show they care by taking part in Bikers for Babies.

Civista Health Inc., Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Riders Insurance, All-American Harley-Davidson, Apehangers Bar & Grill and Maryland International Raceway are providing local sponsorship and leadership.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, according to the release. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, go to marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.