Kickoff held for fundraiser to prevent premature births

Published 6:48 pm Sunday, February 11, 2018

Troup County took a stand against premature birth with the March for Babies kickoff on Friday.

In the U.S., one in 10 babies is born premature, and local parents of premature babies plan to lead the charge to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

This year, Stella Truitt will serve as the Troup March for Babies Ambassador. Her parents said that without the research and support funded by March of Dimes, she might not be alive today.

“The research, provided through the funding for March of Dimes and the education for parents and families, saved her life,” Lindsey Truitt said. “The technology that they were able to use to support her life changed everything. We are just so thankful that there is an organization that supports families and babies that are born under circumstances that need support. Because I know she wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for those things.”

However, it can be easy to ignore the program until it affects those that you love.

“I never paid attention to March of Dimes, honestly, until the situation knocked on our front door, and I saw the importance to have an organization in place that saves lives,” Marius Truitt said. “That is what it does. It really saves lives. We are very fortunate to have this organization in place to assist not just our family but all families.”

When Stella was born in March 2017, she only weighed 1 pound 10 ounces, or as her mother likes to tell people, she weighed about as much as six sticks of butter. Stella and her parents had to worry about numerous health problems due to her early birth, but on Friday, she could be seen laughing happily in her parents’ arms.

“She is a miracle,” Lindsey Truitt said. “You hear people say, ‘well, that’s a miracle,’ but to watch it every day for 66 days (in the NICU) and then every day after that has been amazing. It is a life changer.”

Past ambassador families also attended the event, and many were recognized for their fundraising, but for the families and friends who plan to raise money it is all about the babies.

“You and I care,” said Matt Mallory, president of this year’s March for Babies.

“That is why we are all here for March for Babies.”

Mallory talked about his son who was also born premature in addition to his twin daughters, who inspired him to become involved with March of Dimes.

“I’m one of the few fortunate ones that have a happy story to tell,” Mallory said.

“No physical defects, no health defects, no mental defects besides being impatient children. Nothing. We are one of the lucky ones.”

All funds raised by March of Dimes and March for Babies goes toward research and education.

“We are working to level the playing field, so that all moms and all babies are healthy,” Mallory said. “We are advocating policies to protect them. We are working to radically improve the healthcare they receive. We are pioneering research to find solutions. We are empowering families with programs, knowledge and tools to have healthy pregnancies.”

March for Babies will take place on May 5 at 10 a.m. at Hollis Hand Elementary School.

To learn more about March of Dimes, how to donate or join a team, visit