March for Babies participants will gather at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Central Park. Team members will model their specially designed T-shirts, and some of the teams will perform skits related to this year’s theme — Having Passion for the Mission, Saving Babies Together.


March for Babies participants will gather at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Central Park. Team members will model their specially designed T-shirts, and some of the teams will perform skits related to this year’s theme — Having Passion for the Mission, Saving Babies Together.

 

Participants will gather again in the park at 9 a.m. Saturday for entertainment and the presentation of team awards.

 

The 2.5 mile walk will begin at 10 a.m.

 

Teams have had eight weeks to sponsor events to help raise money for the cause. MOD Division Director II Nancy Miller said she is very proud of the teams and their fundraising efforts.

 

“I feel so blessed that, in this economy, they were able to do so many smaller events,” she said. “But those small events add up to big things.”

 

The morning of the march, drumlines from area schools will compete against each other. The line that raises the most donations wins.

 

There are approximately 61 teams in southern Oklahoma participating this year.

 

“I’m amazed by all the money southern Oklahomans give,” she said.

 

The organization changed the name of its major fundraising event from WalkAmerica to March for Babies in 2008.

 

The MOD’s goal is to prevent premature births and birth defects and reduce infant mortality rates.

 

“It’s just as important that mom knows how to take care of herself to have a healthy baby,” she said. “All babies are a part of us, not just the ones born with difficulties.”

 

About one in eight babies is born prematurely. Babies who are born too soon and too small face the greatest risk of death and lifelong health problems. And pre-term babies often require expensive neonatal care.

 

In Carter County, 12.5 percent of live births are premature and 9.3 percent have low birth weight. The county’s infant mortality rate is 4.6 percent for every 1,000 live births.