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Charleston Once Again Marches for the Health of Babies
5/9/2016 3:54:26 PM

Charleston March for Babies 2016 Balloon Arch

More than 1,000 walkers joined together on Saturday, April 30 at March for Babies to raise a record-breaking $450,000 to help the March of Dimes give every baby a fighting chance. Cannon Park was filled with strollers, families and teams to celebrate raising funds to help more babies be born healthy. Money raised from the event funds research, awareness, education and local community grants.

“More than four million babies are born in the United State each year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs,” said Jim McDaniel of Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union and event chairperson. “What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and honor the successes of the March of Dimes than to bring together families and businesses to raise money to improve babies’ lives.”

Special guests at the day’s events included Yakisha Bookard and her sons, Joel, Joshua and Justus Simmons—the 2016 Charleston Ambassadors and Mayor John Tecklenburg. Brian Cleary of iHeartMedia provided music and entertainment to keep the energy high.

Premature birth affects more than 7,000 families in South Carolina each year. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the answers to premature birth and providing comfort and information to families who are affected.

“It was a memorable and rewarding day for all of us,” said Bookard, who along with family members enjoyed the 3-mile walk and post-walk activities. “When Joel, Joshua and Justus were born prematurely, we decided to do everything we could to make sure that other families don’t go through what we did, and we were honored to be able to support the March of Dimes today.”

During the event ceremonies, the top teams and individual fundraisers were honored. Top Team Awards included: Salem Baptist Church (Church Raising the Most Money), Team Nash Potatoes (Team Raising the Most Money), Roper St. Francis Healthcare (Best Team T-shirt), Piper & Cooper (Family Team of the Year), MUSC (Hospital Raising the Most Money and 2nd place overall team), Robert Bosch (3rd place overall team), and Publix (Top Overall Fundraising Team). Individual walkers who raised $1,000 or more are recognized as the “Circle of Champions”. This year’s Circle of Champions for Charleston are: Wendy Dieterlen, Justin Pesterfield, Angel Stanton, Oliver Mathewes, Roger Newman, Alma Dungee, Martha Sass, Florence Bennett, Kelly Loyd, Jessica Dover, Yakisha Bookard, Jennifer Wilson, Kathleen Palmentiero, Elizabeth Schulz, Meredtih Repik, Gail Dayson, Nicole Rankin, Zenobia Williams-White, Mary Whiteside, Kelly Hammond, Scott Sullivan, Sarah Taylor and Maureen Goff.

Donations are still being accepted by calling the March of Dimes at (843) 571-1776 or visiting www.marchforbabies.org.

Local sponsors include: Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union, MUSC, Select Health of South Carolina, South Carolina Federal Credit Union, Robert Bosch, Publix, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Kapstone, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Santee Cooper.

Each year, the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues working to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.


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