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On behalf of the March of Dimes, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to the people of Southern Maryland who joined together to support the health of all babies.

On a rainy and cold Oct. 7, more than 150 bikers, residents and volunteers joined together and raised more than $24,000 for Bikers for Babies, to benefit all babies — those born healthy as well as those who need help to survive and thrive.

Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year, including nearly 10,000 in Maryland. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. Annually, more than 120,000 babies nationwide are born 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 and is extremely appreciative of its volunteers, sponsors, vendors and donors who assist in supporting its mission.

Thank you to our sponsors: Civista Health, Charles County Sheriff’s Office — In Memory of Sgt. Robert Taylor, Rider Insurance, All-American Harley-Davidson, Charles County Government, Apehangers Bar & Grill and Maryland International Raceway.

Thank you to our vendors: Somonium Ink, Heavenly Cupcakes, Thirty One and B*Charmed.

Thank you to the committee members and volunteers: Beverly Howe and the entire Apehangers staff, Michelle Messick, Ann Pyles, Stephanie East, Sandra Sanna, Rebecca “Bunny” Laroque, Susan Warcup, Jimmy Buckles, Jeff McGee, Pam Brannon, Pam Mucciolo, BRS and Big Ray Donaldson, the Fleming family, the Lockard family, Gary Eiff and the Christian Motorcycle Association, Tony Wright and Jesus Loves Bikers and the Craze.

And of course, a big thank you to our ride escorts who made the ride safe: Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department, Bel Alton Volunteer Fire Department, Newburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, Charles County Volunteer Rescue Squad and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.

Again, thank you for joining the March of Dimes to help give every baby a healthy start in life.

Jennifer Abell, La Plata

Rebecca Bridgett, Charlotte Hall

The writers are the director of Southern Maryland March of Dimes and chairwoman of Bikers for Babies, respectively.