Neither rain nor wind stopped about 100 volunteers as they showed up last Saturday with rain coats and umbrealls ready to log four miles for a good cause, the March of Dimes March for Babies. Individuals, families, organizations and businesses helped raise about $19,000 during this year's event in Storm Lake.
The goal of the March for Babies campaign is to raise money to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. According to the March of Dimes website during an average week in Iowa 87 babies are born preterm, 14 are born very preterm, 52 are born low birthweight and ten are born with a very low birthweight. Even though March of Dimes division director Jill Wooster said she saw fewer people walking in this first year under the "March for Babies" identity, they were still able to raise quite a bit of money."It was a good group of troopers out 'weathering' the rain," said Wooster.
While the event saw some faithful walkers who walk annually like a team from Sara Lee, there were some new walkers this year as well.
"It's great to see people who return year after year and then see the new people come in," she added. Genesis Development sponsored a team for the first time this year, "New Beginnings," a team consisting of 11 walkers.
"We wanted to do some things to give back to the community because our people here get so much from the community," said Sarah Wachal, Supported Community Living Manager at Genesis. Genesis Development raised about $200 for the cause and plan to make walking each year a new tradition.
Wooster pointed out that the March of Dimes has a saying, "One day all babies will be born healthy but we have to walk to get there."
Some walkers have walked many miles to help other babies like their own like "Team Alexis" made up of the Barber family of Clive, who previously lived near Storm Lake. Justin and Amy Barber's daughter Alexis, 3 1/2 years old, was born 13 weeks too early and weighed one pound, six ounces. The family and many of their friends walked a few days previously in Des Moines.
"We would like to definitely thank all the people who raised the money and all those people who braved the weather for a good cause," said Wooster. "I was pleased. It was nice to see their support," added Kelly Lorenger, March of Dimes Iowa Chapter community director. Lorenger is new to the March of Dimes this year.