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updated: 4/26/2012 12:02 PM

March for Babies funds research to help premature infants

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  • Hundreds of parents -- along with family, friends and children -- will walk Sunday, April 29, in the March for Babies. Walks are planned in Chicago and throughout the suburbs.

      Hundreds of parents -- along with family, friends and children -- will walk Sunday, April 29, in the March for Babies. Walks are planned in Chicago and throughout the suburbs.
    Mark Black/Daily Herald, April 2011

 
 

Hundreds of parents will walk together Sunday, April 29, brought together by experiences none of them expected to share.

None of those parents thought they'd bring their babies into the world as much as three months early. None wanted to reach a finger around tubes and wires for their first touch of their newborn's skin. None imagined heading home from the hospital without their baby.

Some of their stories end in unimaginable pain, premature babies not ready for the world who fight for hours or days or even months before their tiny bodies give out.

But some of their stories are filled with triumph and joy, the babies that science and technology and medicine can protect, support and nurture. The ones who go home and grow strong and grow up.

Through their common experience of premature births, all of the families walking Sunday share a commitment to supporting March of Dimes.

Founded in 1938 with the goal of eradicating polio, the organization's mission has shifted to helping women have healthy full-term pregnancies, to supporting families of premature babies through education and counseling, and to funding research into medical practices that help save premature infants' lives.

In the United States, one in eight babies are born prematurely, a figure that has risen 36 percent in the past 25 years, according to the March of Dimes. Premature babies who survive are at risk for long-term health problems and lifelong disabilities.

Hundreds of parents will be walking together in March for Babies walks in Chicago, the suburbs and beyond to benefit the March of Dimes. Here are their stories.

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