The March of Dimes holds March for Babies walks all over the United States.
The events act as fundraisers to help mothers have stronger, healthier babies, but raising awareness is also a key component.
"One in eight babies are born prematurely at this point," said Sharon Masciovecchio, now in her 13th year as director of the walk. "It is a big issue. We want to help people be aware of what is going on. This helps to raise money and awareness."
Over 800 walkers are expected to take part in the Rockland County March for Babies on a five-mile course through Pearl River Sunday, starting at Blue Hill Plaza. Last year's Rockland March for Babies drew nearly 1,000 people total.
"Every week in New York State 578 babies are born pre-term," Masciovecchio said. "People need to be aware that there are a lot of things going on out there they can help with. The fundraising is great for research and advocacy we have going on in our community,"
The event will feature more than just the walk. Local businesses will provide plenty of refreshments for participants. Panera Bread and the Rockland Bakery will be providing breakfast before the walk. ShopRite will be accepting donations and giving out juice boxes and granola bars along the route.
After the walk, Casa Mia Manor House and Applebee’s will bring lunch. King Kone will provide ice pops.
Vision Sports will help warm everybody up before the walk and DeCarlo Chiropractic Care will be there to help when they finish.
Among the performers after the race will be Cheermania and the dancers from Nymechek Dance Centre. Home Depot will provide a workshop for kids. Mad Science and Arcade 2 Go Mobile Video Game Arcades will also have activities for kids.
March of Dimes provided the following statistics to demonstrate the importance of efforts to help provide for the health of newborn babies.
In an average week in New York:
- 4,815 babies are born
- 322 babies are born to teen mothers (ages 15-19)
- 1,652 babies are delivered by Cesarean Section
- 578 babies are born preterm
- 374 babies are born with a low birth weight.
- 27 babies die before their first birthday