Dimes march helps babies

Published 12:02 am Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lindsey Shelton | The Natchez Democrat March for Babies participants carry a banner at the start of the walk on the Vidalia Riverfront Saturday.

Vidalia — The chilly Saturday morning weather didn’t stop nearly 40 people from throwing on a jacket and tying up their walking shoes to march in the March for Babies on the Vidalia riverfront.

Frankie Robertson, director for the Louisiana chapter of March of Dimes, traveled from Baton Rouge to be at the march. She said the march is the organization’s largest signature fundraiser for education, research and advocacy for child and maternal health and reducing pre-term birth rates.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing pre-term birth, birth defects and infant mortality.

Robertson said she was very happy to see the community marching together to show support.

“For a population that is not in a position to help themselves, we have to,” she said. “They can’t do the work, so we have to do it for them.”

Vidalia Junior High students Katelyn White, Dalenesha Wimley, Jania Burns, Ajah Williams and Keith Myles all said they were all very proud to be a part of the march.

“This will help the babies that are in the next generation after us too,” Myles said.

Michelle Bozeman brought her husband, Denny, and 17-year-old son Nathan out to the march. She said she has been marching for babies for several years.

“Too many lives are lost not knowing what the reason is,” Bozeman said.

Amber Walsworth said her mother-in-law lost a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

“It happens every day, and no one really thinks about it,” she said. “Being out here shows that there are people out there who care.”

Debbie Becks said fundraisers like the March for Babies are important to finding a cure.

“We need to make money and get donations to find a cure,” she said.

Catherine Cartwright said she was marching because she just loves the babies.

“It touches my heart that I can do something to help these babies lead a healthy life,” she said.

Robertson said $3,900 was collected at the march Saturday, and there is still money coming in from the fundraising teams and sponsors.

Robertson said she encourages people who did not get a chance to participate in the march to take part in the organization’s programs such as Blue Jeans for Babies during Prematurity Awareness Month, which kicks off in November.