Monday, November 18, 2013

March of Dimes, Dedicated to Helping Babies

By M. J. Joachim

My husband and I had the pleasure of attending the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction in Phoenix yesterday. March of Dimes is celebrating 75 years this year; yesterday was World Prematurity Day. According to the program, “Each year, it (prematurity) affects 15 million babies globally, nearly half a million babies nationwide, and more than 10, 000 babies in Arizona. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have lifelong disabilities. The March of Dimes is committed to reversing this trend by funding research to find the causes of premature birth and developing strategies to prevent it.”

So there we were, surrounded by about a dozen of the most amazing chefs from our local area, tempting our taste buds with some of the most delightful food in town. As someone with gluten intolerance, I was a little hesitant and embarrassed, tempting fate by eyeballing the dishes and trying to decide what I could and couldn’t eat on my own.

Early into the evening, this seemed like an appropriate strategy, and it worked. There were some phenomenal looking dishes there, however, and eventually I got brave enough to ask a few of the chefs if their dishes were gluten free. The chefs couldn’t have been nicer about it, resulting in my being able to eat many dishes I most certainly would have avoided. As it turns out, there were many amazing recipes I might have missed in my embarrassment to ask the question. 

When we were invited to this March of Dimes charity event, I didn’t hesitate to agree to go. It’s for a good cause, and though I knew the gathering centered around food, I wasn’t about to let my own food insensitivities determine what I can and can’t do in life. Helping others is important. Being social is important and working through our insecurities about “being different” is important. Gluten free is not an excuse to deny oneself the gift of helping others and being part of the community working together to do so, even if many events revolve around gatherings serving food.

Back to the March of Dimes and their mission now. Founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, stemming from his own personal struggle with polio, The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis was established at a time when polio was on the rise, and children were facing severe risks and consequences in its wake. President Roosevelt, Jonas Salk MD and Albert Sabin MD worked to create a vaccine, which eventually led to the end of the polio epidemic in the USA. 

The foundation established to fight polio eventually became a foundation to help babies, becoming widely known as the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy,” states the March of Dimes website.

Since WWII, the March of Dimes has been on a mission to help children. Their work is intense, including various types of fund-raising, education programs and personal support for those facing trials and tribulations associated with pregnancy and giving birth to premature or otherwise less than healthy babies. 

March of Dimes hosts the March for Babies throughout various cities and on numerous dates across the U. S. It’s easy to get involved, simply by walking a couple of miles and raising funds to help fulfill the mission of March of Dimes, saving babies. According to the March of Dimes, “The money you raise supports programs in your community that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. And it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies.”

I’m glad you stopped in for a visit today. I hope you won’t limit yourself when you face challenges, and that this post inspires you to explore the many ways you can help a child live a better, healthier life. 

M. J. 

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Photo credit: March of Dimes Foundation, PD – US
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