- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Approximately 1,100 residents joined in support of the smallest citizens of Southern Maryland — babies — by participating in the 2013 March for Babies to benefit the March of Dimes.
Regency Furniture Stadium was packed with strollers, families and corporate teams who raised more than $200,000 to help babies be born healthy, according to a news release.
Guests at the day’s events included Craig J. Renner and Tom Dennison, March for Babies co-chairmen, and the Zopelis Family, the 2013 Southern Maryland ambassador family, who joined walkers on the route while the Superheroes of Southern Maryland, Happily Ever After princesses, Rita’s Ice Guy; and Pinch, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs mascot; cheered them at the finish line.
“We’ve seen today how important the health of moms and babies is to the people of Southern Maryland,” Renner, of The St. Charles Cos., said in the release. “I’m so proud to be part of a community where people come together for such a great cause.”
Dennison, of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, added, “Helping our babies should be a top priority, and we’re excited about what we’ve accomplished here today.”
“It was a memorable and rewarding day for all of us,” said Misty and Joe Zopelis. “When [our children] MacKenna was born 11 weeks premature, William was five weeks early and then Sean at eight weeks too soon, we decided we had to do everything possible to help spare other families from enduring such traumatic experiences. Although we had many obstacles to overcome, we are truly blessed to be a true success story.
“We are seven years into this journey and we will continue on until there is a day when all babies are born healthy. We’re honored to represent the March of Dimes today in return for all the support they’ve given us and our family,” the family said in the release.
Donations from March for Babies funds research, education and community programs that help women have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.
Donations can be mailed before June 30 to March of Dimes Maryland — National Capital Area Chapter, P.O. Box 62770, Baltimore, MD 21264-2770.
Premature birth is the most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today, according to the release, and affects more than 500,000 babies each year, including one in eight born in Maryland.
In November, the March of Dimes issued its annual Premature Birth Report Card, giving the nation and Maryland a C grade.
Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have lifelong disabilities.
The March of Dimes is committed to reducing the toll by funding research to find the answers to premature birth and providing comfort and information to affected families.