Heroes are often those we know

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Features Editor

Dec. 13, 1999 11 PM

The breakfast was for heroes.

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A quick glance around the room might find one asking "Where are the heroes?" but they were there. They’re just not often recognized as such.

Leaders in the Pike County business community gathered at the Troy Country Club Dec. 8 to help kickoff the March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2000 campaign and were, perhaps, a bit surprised to hear themselves called "heroes.’

Dianne Smith, chairperson for the Pike County March of Dimes, told the group that, by helping to save innocent babies who are sick through no fault of their own, they have earned the honor of being called heroes.

"All of the children who have been saved by lifesaving research and every baby who gets the chance for a healthy start in life, think you are heroes," Smith said in soliciting corporate sponsorship for the 2000 campaign.

Jimmy Floyd, director of Charles Henderson Child Health Center, emphasized the importance of the March of Dimes WalkAmerica campaign by pointing out that 80 percent of the organization’s funds come via volunteer fundraising efforts.

Randy Stevenson, plant manager for Lockheed Martin, a March of Dimes gold sponsor, said his is company proud to be a part of raising money for such a good cause.

Each year, the child health care center and Lockheed strive to set the standard for other corporate sponsors because of their commitment and dedication to the babies of world – the 30 year cherished tradition of the March of Dimes founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who suffered from the effects of polio.

Through research, the fight against polio was won but there are other battles to be fought and won. The March of Dimes volunteers are on the front lines fighting for babies who are born with health problems and are vulnerable and defenseless.

Dianna Lee, the mother of triplets, spoke about her dedication to the March of Dimes and told how she became involved.

"I had heard of the March of Dimes but it had never been a priority in my life," Lee said. "Now, I first thank God for my three healthy babies and right next to Him, I thank the March of Dimes."

Lee said early in her quest for motherhood, she began taking folic acid which has been proven effective in helping to prevent birth defects. When she became pregnant with three babies, she was given steroid therapy which helped the babies’ lungs develop faster. In the likely event of early birth, the babies would have a better chance at life because their lungs would be more developed.

"The doctors told me not to be alarmed if the babies didn’t cry when they were born," Lee said. "Lindsey came screaming into the world at 12:57. At 12:59, Eric came in screaming and then Max came – screaming. The steroid therapy had worked. I am so humbled and so thankful for the direct impact the March of Dimes has had on my life. I would encourage every person to become involved in the fundraising efforts of this organization. Giving birth to a health child is the greatest joy on earth."

Lee joined other business leaders in the Pike County community in the hope that one day every mother and father will know this great joy.

The March of Dimes WalkAmerica will soon be asking businesses and individuals to be a part of the 2000 fundraisers. For babies’ sake, please say yes.

For more information, contact Dianne Smith 566-9575.