MCCC has become a big part of the March of Dimes effort in Monroe County.
College employees have walked in the March for Babies in past years, but last year the college formed its own team, according to Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services.
Daniels said that President Kojo Quartey volunteered to be chair of the walk in Monroe for 2015, and the location was moved from Sterling State Park to MCCC’s campus.
“He created his leadership team and I was on that,” Daniels said. “So we had two staff members, Julie Billmaier and Toni Bean, who took the lead on developing a team.”
MCCC had a successful walk last year, and since he was on the leadership team, Daniels was nominated to be the chair for this year’s March for Babies in Monroe.
Quartey is still on the team, along with others from the community including representatives from United Insurance, Monroe Bank and Trust, Key Bank and Siena Heights University, Monroe.
The team has been meeting throughout the year to plan for the 2016 walk, and Annette Kiebler and Penny Bodell have volunteered to chair the MCCC team.
“They’re working on fundraisers and getting walkers to sign up,” Daniels said.
According to the March of Dimes Foundation, 1 million of the 15 million babies born prematurely around the world die each year.
About 380,000 of these children are born in the United States, and half of these cases are due to unknown causes.
In 2004, March of Dimes began the Prematurity Research Initiative (PRI) that funds research into the cause of prematurity. Since this research began, nearly $28 million has been awarded to 88 grantees exploring how genetic and environmental factors, or infections may trigger early labor.
The average medical cost for a healthy baby is $4,389, contrasted by a cost of $54,194 for a premature baby. In addition to the PRI, March of Dimes funds research to help grantees improve the care of premature babies.
The March of Dimes conducts various events to help fund their research, such as formal balls, golf tournaments, and March for Babies.
The March of Dimes started with President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio. He created the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis during a time when polio cases were increasing.
This foundation set forth a polio patient aid program and funded research for vaccines developed by medical doctors.
When that mission was accomplished, the foundation focused on preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes’ Prematurity Campaign has characterized their fight to save babies since 2003 and seeks to create awareness and determine causes of premature birth.
Daniels shared that the March for Babies holds personal relevance to him and his wife. He said it was something near and dear, and he takes pride in being part of the March of Dimes cause.
“We’ve made great stride in cutting down the number of premature births in the world,”. Daniels said. “But we have a long way to go, and so that campaign of giving every baby a fighting-chance is really, for me…it’s what got me involved.”
Daniels said when he was approached about getting involved with the March for Babies, that cause is what did it for him.
“I think it’s important to continue the research,” he said. “I share in what I think is the worthy goal of eliminating premature birth, and I think that what the March of Dimes does is noble. We all have these different causes and things that we give our time to, and this is one that I’ve taken to heart.”
If the March for Babies is something you’d like to be a part of, contact Penny Bodell or Annette Kiebler to sign up to be on MCCC’s walking team.
The walk will be held on Sunday, May 1, 2016 on MCCC’s campus. Registration will be at 11:00 a.m. with the walk beginning at 12:00 p.m. The walking distance will be 1.5 miles.