CLEVELAND, April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nationally, one in eight babies are born prematurely, preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the United States. Working to help change this stark reality are Cleveland-area residents and healthcare teams from area hospitals, including University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital presenting sponsor of the event. By raising awareness and funds through this signature March for Babies® event -- March of Dimes' largest for the year, Cleveland supporters are helping improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
March for Babies — the nation's premier walking event — is held in 900 communities across the United States and involves more than 7 million people each year. The Cleveland event expects to raise $500,000 with the help of 3,500 people walking in support of healthy babies.
Cleveland's March for Babies will be held on May 1 at Voinovich Park (near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) in Cleveland, OH. Registration is at 9:00 a.m. and the walk starts at 10:00 a.m.
"Thanks to the support of the local community, the March of Dimes is leading the charge to help reduce the rate of premature births. But there are still too many babies born too soon and sick," stated 2011 March for Babies Co-Chair, Michael J. Farrell, President of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital. "That is why I'm enlisting my UH colleagues, Drs. Eric Bieber and Michael Konstan – leaders in prenatal and neonatal care -- who are co-chairing this year's campaign with me and calling on the community to join March for Babies and walk together for stronger, healthier babies."
Cleveland area residents are encouraged to sign up for March for Babies and create a team with their family, friends or colleagues at marchforbabies.org or by calling 216-643-3330 for more information. The event includes a 4-mile walk and 1-mile Family Fun Route. Kids activities; entertainment, food and refreshments will be provided for participants.
In addition to supporting medical research, the funds raised through March for Babies are distributed to local community organizations working to improve the health of mothers and babies. Ohio researchers are currently receiving $3.9 million in research support including $1 million for Cleveland intuitions. This year, University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital was awarded a $20,000 grant to support the expansion of Centering Pregnancy ®. The program helps low-income women to improve birth outcomes and increase breastfeeding rates.
In Cleveland, University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital and Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Macy's present March for Babies.
The 2011 March for Babies national sponsors includes Bayer, Cigna, Famous Footwear, Farmers Insurance, FedEx, First Response, Kmart, Mission Pharmacal. Sanofi Pasteur and United Airlines.
Additional March for Babies events in Northeast Ohio include Akron, May 7; Upper Ohio Valley, May 14and Mahoning Valley, May 15.
About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.