The March of Dimes kicked off its 75th year of saving babies Tuesday at the Callaway Conference Center.
Pastor Leon Johns led the invocation at the lunch and the welcoming remarks were given by Leigh Newman, West Georgia Technical College assistant provost.
Brooke Garrett Bond, Troup County Ambassador 1989/1990 took the stage at Tuesday’s March of Dimes kickoff for 2013 March for Babies.
“Doctors said that I would never walk or talk, but I proved them wrong, I ran,” Bond said. “2013, we are celebrating 75 years of the March of Dimes saving the lives of babies and supporting families. This is a campaign for all babies.”
The event was hosted by West Georgia Technical College Phi Beta Lambda. Adding to the event’s festive air, tables were decorated by individual companies and organizations who are sponsors of the campaign. Carla Starling, March of Dimes senior community director, gave introductions for the program’s participants.
After Bond, a short March of Dimes video was shown which outlined the organization’s focal point for 2013. With 1 out of every 8 babies being born premature, the ultimate goal is the elimination of these premature births. Full-term babies are more likely to be more developed and have fewer problems. Research is a large component of the March of Dimes’ program.
March for Babies 2013 chairperson Patrick Crews told of what finally got him to take on the role of this year’s campaign chairperson.
“My reasons for getting involved are named Griffin, Brody and Parker, my three grandsons. I am so very thankful that they were all born healthy, every child should be given the same opportunity,” Crews said. “Every year, there is roughly 1,000 babies born in LaGrange and they are still not all born without having problems.”
Crews stated that he was very excited to be part of this year’s March for Babies campaign and then asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine that they were living in an earlier time.
“In September of 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced the plans for the formation of a new national foundation to assist the fight against polio,” Crews said. “Today, Bob Prater, a historical re-enactor of Mr. Roosevelt will relive for us that announcement.”
Prater, with a stiff-legged gait, a cane and an assistant, carefully made his way from the back of the auditorium to arduously climb the stairs of the stage to finally take his place in front of the podium. In complete silence the audience watched his progress and waited to hear his first words.
Prater gave a flawless performance of FDR giving his organization speech for what was to become the March of Dimes.
“Work of this new organization must start immediately, it can not be delayed,” Prater said quoting FDR.
He went on to say how people who have muscular difficulties do not want to depend on others, but want to be wholly independent. The speech was given in Sept. 1937 and the organization was formed in 1938, 75 years ago.
Starling then introduced Brandy Recny, the mother of the 2013 March for Babies ambassador, 2-year-old Mark Issac Recny. Brandy Recny recounted the problems and ordeal that she and her husband went through when her son was born prematurely. Mark Issac Recny had been born with a type-4 brain-bleed and was not expected to be able to walk or talk.
“Our faith did not allow us to believe what we were told. We named him Issac, which means ‘he will laugh’ and everyday he learns something new and throughout all of it he laughs,” Brandy Recny said.
Mark Issac Recny was in the audience happily being securely held standing on his father’s, Mark Recny, knees. The young boy is now learning to walk and is even speaking a few words. The family strongly believes in being part of the March of Dimes’ push to help all babies and families.
Starling ended the program by having audience members stand when she called out the decade that they were born in. Starting with the 1950’s, she then cited the role that the March of Dimes played in that time period to help ensure that they had been born healthy. Finally, she had anyone who was born before the 1950’s stand and applauded them for supporting the formation and continued work of the March of Dimes. The early work of the foundation starting with the cardboard cards that were filled with the first dimes.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the 3-mile walk kicking off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4th. Participation in March for Babies will provide a memorable and rewarding day for the whole family. The walk will begin and end at Hollis Hand School. To register for an event in your community, visit www.marchforbabies.org.
Funds raised by March for Babies in Georgia help support prenatal wellness programs, research grants, newborn intensive care unit (NICU) family support programs and advocacy efforts for stronger, healthier babies.