• 68°

Walkers well on way to reaching #036;50K goal

Staff Writer

March of Dimes volunteers turned in dimes and dollars during Bank Day held Thursday afternoon.

According to Pike County WalkAmerica chairwoman Dianne Smith this year’s walkers are well on their way to reaching the $50,000 goal.

Last year, Pike County raised over $40,000 with a majority of that money going right back into the community to help infants. This year, walkers have been challenged to raise at least $200 each.

Although some teams are using today to raise some extra money before Saturday’s walk, there will also be some 2000 commerorative bears on sale the day of the walk to help reach the goal.

Most of the money has already been turned in to Smith, who was very pleased with what she’s gotten.

"I think everybody’s done a great job," Smith said.

The official amount raised will be announced at the walk tomorrow, which will be held on the Troy State University campus. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with the walk starting at 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided by the Troy Civitan Club following the walk.

Smith is expecting the big walk tomorrow to be fun for everyone.

But, having fun is only part of the goal. The real goal is raising money to save the lives of babies.

#According to statistics, approximately 1,163 babies are born during an average week in Alabama. About 208 of those infants are born to teen mothers and 44 babies are born to mothers who either didn’t receive prenatal care or got it late in the pregnancy.

During 1996, about 81 percent of women received prenatal care in the first trimester and the March of Dimes is striving to raise that to 90 percent.

Just over 9 percent of babies born in 1996 weighed less that 5.5 pounds and the objective for 2000 is to reduce that to closer to 5 percent. Of those babies, 10.5 percent died before their first birthday.

It is estimated that almost 2,420 Alabama babies are born with a birth defect each year.

But, in Alabama, more than 15,000 volunteers invest time to raise money for research, education, advocacy and community service that will improve the health of babies.

Since WalkAmerica started 30 years ago, volunteers across America have raised money to prevent birth defects. But, the March of Dimes has been working for 62 years supporting research which has led to the polio vaccine, PKU test and the discovery of folic acid’s benefits to unborn children.