Thousands participate in March of Dimes March for Babies


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalists J.P. HARRINGTON

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Updated Saturday, May 4 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Babies have the unique ability to put a smile on almost anyone's face. But often times, people take for granted the journey some of them endure to get here.

Each year, nearly 500,000 babies are born prematurely in America, including 9-month old Emma Green.

Born at 28 weeks, Emma weighed just 14 ounces. Sadie Opperman, now 6-months old, was born three weeks early. Avery Wallace is one. She was born very early and was extremely sick. She is affectionately called "princess preemie" by her parents.

"She was born with it's called non immune hydrops fetalis, it's pretty rare and she's one of the very few miracles that came from it," said Avery's mother Lorin Wallace. 

The parents of Emma, Sadie and Avery say they all have one thing in common.

"Without March of Dimes, our babies wouldn't be here," said Emma's mother Darla Green. 

To show their appreciation, 10,000 people laced up their sneakers, unpacked their strollers and hit the pavement to raise $900,000 for the March of Dimes.

"A lot of the money raised here locally does go to research but a large portion of that money stays here," said March of Dimes Executive Director Georgia Thomsen. "And we actually have March of Dime staff in the NICUs, neonatal intensive care units, to support those families here locally and to give them a helping hand in their greatest time of need."

Since 2011, $1.5 million raised by March of Dimes has come back to to Austin, giving babies a fighting chance.

Sadly, not every family gets a happy ending, but that doesn't stop them from marching.

"My niece was a premature baby. Unfortunately she passed," said Rose Cantu, "but Mercedes, we're always loving you and we're always praying for you."

"We got pregnant with identical twin boys. In August of 2008 we actually had a pre-term labor and delivery. And so unfortunately, we lost our two twin boys,but we found the March of Dimes" said Michael McSpadden who, with his wife and three children are the March for Babies Ambassador Family.

Together, all of the families are working together to create more success stories; such as Avery's, who almost has a clean bill of health; Sadie who is doing just fine; and Emma, who has no medical problems, just a need for a little oxygen to help her grow big and strong.