SUNRISE, Fla., April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of the importance of preventing premature births, Sunshine Health is teaming up with the March of Dimes Florida Chapter to support March for Babies events across the state.
March for Babies raises money to treat infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), to fund programs that support mothers and families and to pay for research that will prevent premature births.
"Of the more than 224,000 babies born each year in Florida, nearly 10 percent are born prematurely, before 37 weeks," said Deb Smyers, Sunshine Health's Senior Vice President of Medical Management and Chair of the March for Babies Broward County walk. "It's critical that we raise money to fund research for prematurity treatment and prevention while raising awareness of the importance of prenatal care."
Sunshine Health is the presenting sponsor of the Broward March for Babies and is also supporting walks in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. Last year more than 300 employees participated in walks across the state. In addition to collecting pledges, employees are hosting office fundraisers like "March of Pies" where company executives volunteer to take a pie in the face for the cause. Employees bid for the opportunity to throw the pie – or to spare the leader.
"It's heartwarming to see our employees galvanize around March for Babies every year," said Chris Paterson, Sunshine Health's CEO. "They're always coming up with new ways to raise money, like the pie fundraiser, in addition to the raffles and sales of Blue Jeans Monday passes. It can get competitive to see which department raises the most."
"We are grateful to Sunshine Health for its support and all the company is doing to help fight prematurity and promote prenatal care in Florida," said Guillermo Formoso, March of Dimes Broward Board Chair. "Its employees have also enthusiastically rallied around our mission to help give all babies a healthy start in life."
This year's walk in Broward County on May 6 will be especially meaningful for one Sunshine Health employee.
Rose Aubry, a Sunshine Health referral specialist, was five months pregnant with her third child when she developed preeclampsia. The only cure for the potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication is to deliver the baby.
Aubry's daughter Skye was born at 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces. She would have fit into the palm of her mother's hand, only babies born so small can't be held. She was placed in an incubator and connected to tubes and machines to help her continue to develop.
Through a March of Dimes' program called Kangaroo care, Aubry was eventually able to touch and hold Skye. The program encourages physical contact between fragile babies and their mothers because studies show it helps with their heart and lung development and also promotes the production of their mothers' breast milk.
Skye left Miami's Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital at Memorial more than 150 days later, weighing a little over 5 pounds.
She's now an adventurous 2-year-old who loves shoes and purses. Her family calls her their "little fashionista."
Aubry and her family are this year's Broward March for Babies Ambassador Family. She appreciates the support she received from the March of Dimes and is excited to be able to give back.
Her advice for new parents of preemies?
"Have faith and don't lose hope," she said. "These babies are so much stronger than we think they are."
About Sunshine Health
Headquartered in Sunrise, Fla., Sunshine Health is among the largest healthcare plans in Florida. Offering coordinated care and a network of support for its more than 800,000 members, Sunshine Health is transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. Sunshine Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Sunshine Health offers government-sponsored managed care through Medicaid, Long Term Care, Medicare and Florida's Health Insurance Marketplace. Additionally, we offer a specialty Medicaid health plan for children in or adopted from Florida's Child Welfare system and a full pay Healthy Kids plan statewide. For more information about Sunshine Health, please visit www.SunshineHealth.com.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sunshine-health-supports-march-for-babies-to-combat-premature-births-300443496.html
SOURCE Sunshine Health