March of Dimes is the largest and most respected maternal-child health organization in the world. We help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. And if something goes wrong, we offer information and comfort to families.
More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through 75 years of research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
To improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. March of Dimes carries out its mission through research, advocacy, community services and education to save babies’ lives.
From polio to prematurity
In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at a time when polio was on the rise. Better known as the March of Dimes, the foundation established a polio patient aid program and funded research for vaccines developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD. These vaccines effectively ended epidemic polio in the United States.
Preventing birth defects
Its original mission accomplished, the foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. We have supported research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies. Our recent Folic Acid Campaign achieved a dramatic reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects, birth defects of the brain and spine.
Fighting premature birth
Since 2003, our fight to save babies has been strongly characterized by our Prematurity Campaign. The rising incidence of premature birth has demanded action, and the March of Dimes has responded by initiating an intensive, multi-year campaign to raise awareness and find the causes of prematurity.
We are honored to represent March of Dimes because our family would not be who we are today without it. Four years ago, our son Bryce was born at 31 weeks -- 58 days before his due date. Upon his arrival, Bryce was immediately rushed to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), where he received life-saving surfactant therapy to help him breathe. March of Dimes funded research that led to the development of surfactant, which treats respiratory distress syndrome. Because of this breakthrough, and other research supported by March of Dimes to improve the treatment of premature infants, doctors were able to nurture him for the first several critical weeks of his life. Bryce’s emergency delivery was a blessing made possible by these medical advancements.
His premature birth also is amazing because without that early delivery, doctors wouldn’t have discovered the dangerous condition threatening his mother’s life. For more than 75 years March of Dimes has raised funds to help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies and research the problems that threaten the health of moms and babies. And, for that reason our entire family is here today celebrating Bryce’s fourth year of precocious, enthusiastic, joy-filled life.
As this year’s Fund the Mission Chairs and Ambassador Family, we hope you’ll support us and this wonderful foundation by making a 100 percent tax-deductible donation to the March of Dimes mission in recognition of The Sanders Family – Bryce Sanders.
Celeste and I also hope you will attend the Signature Chefs Auction. It’s truly an amazing event. Thank you for your support!