CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hundreds of families and business leaders are expected to join together April 27 for the March of Dimes' annual March for Babies -- the nation's oldest walk fundraiser honoring babies born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive.
March for Babies is the largest annual fundraising event for the March of Dimes, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
"We've come a long way from polio to prematurity," said Amanda Pritt, community director for the March of Dimes West Virginia. "We really want to get our mission out."
While strides have been made toward reducing the rates of premature birth nationwide, 1 in 8 babies are still born too soon every year in West Virginia.
"We still have a long way to go," Pritt said.
This year, the March of Dimes plans to focus on highlighting its local family teams, who may be walking to celebrate a baby, or to honor one who did not survive.
But Pritt notes that the March of Dimes' mission helps every baby. It was a former March of Dimes medical director who pushed for federally mandated folic acid fortification of many common grocery store items, which has, in the last 20 years, helped to reduce neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
Registration for the walk begins at 10 a.m., with the walk kicking off at 11 a.m.