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March of Dimes Radiothon, Purple Bucket Fundraiser set for #GivingTuesday

Bartow County’s March of Dimes hopes to close out the 2015 campaign with a fundraising campaign on #GivingTuesday.

With a goal of $46,350, the nonprofit is less than $4,000 from reaching its target.

“We’ve had a good year but we’re still a few dollars short of making our goal, so we hope Tuesday’s events will help us reach and possibly exceed the goal and finish strong in 2015,” said 2016 March of Dimes Chairperson Ginger Tyra.

The day will begin with a radiothon on WBHF from 7 to 10 a.m., with a Purple Bucket Fundraiser at the corner of Church and Erwin streets from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. An anonymous donor will match pledges from the radiothon up to $1,000.

While most are aware of March of Dimes’ work with premature births and infant health, the organization’s efforts touch the lives of all newborns.

“Most people know that March of Dimes provides resources to very sick babies. However, what many people are not aware of is that the education and research of the March of Dimes impacts every baby born,” Tyra said. “In fact, before a baby leaves the hospital he [or] she will receive special tests called newborn screening. Newborn screening checks for serious but rare conditions at birth. It includes blood, hearing and heart screening. So the dollars raised really do help babies in our local community.”

Education is one of the key components to a healthy pregnancy and birth, and the workplace is often overlooked in the process, she added.  

The average employer expenditures for newborn care:
• Uncomplicated delivery: Approximately $5,000
• Premature/low birth weight delivery: Approximately $54,000

Employers pay 12 times as much in health care costs for premature/low birthweight babies as for babies born without complications.

With 1 in 9 babies born prematurely, employers spend more on that one premature baby than on the remaining eight babies combined.

“The March of Dimes offers a free, educational worksite wellness program that promotes a family-friendly work environment. ‘Healthy Babies Healthy Business’ is easy to manage, implement and promote, and provides the company with a wealth of information to support its employees before, during and after their pregnancy,” Tyra said.

After more than 20 years in health care, Tyra, the director of marketing and public relations for Cartersville Medical Center, developed a passion for March of Dimes and its mission.

“I remember receiving the polio vaccine as a child and not completely understanding why a fifth-grade teacher at my elementary school walked with a limp and had other disabilities, [which were] a result of polio,” she said. “I also remember asking family, friends and neighbors to donate dimes to help fill up my March of Dimes card.

“It was not until recently that I realized just how important the March of Dimes is for expectant mothers and newborn babies. Babies are not fully developed until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy and waiting until 39 weeks is so very important. Because of the diligence of our hospital and our local OB/GYNs, the Georgia Department of Public Health, along with the March of Dimes and Georgia Hospital Association, named CMC a ‘39 Weeks Hospital,’ one of only 12 hospitals in Georgia, for exemplary work in reducing early elective deliveries. After serving on the Cartersville Medical Center March for Babies team for several years, I was asked to serve as chairperson for the 2016 Bartow County campaign and proudly accepted.”

The 2016 campaign, which kicks off in February, hopes to raise $50,000. The annual March for Babies will be Friday, May 6, at Dellinger Park, with next year’s ambassador expected to be named soon.

Tyra said Cartersville Elementary School students will have an opportunity to participate in a Kids March for Babies fundraiser, beginning in late February with a pep rally and ending in early March with a celebratory parade. “Our goal is to have more elementary schools in our community participate each year.”

For more information, to make a donation or form a 2016 March for Babies team, visit http://www.marchofdimes.org/ or call Tyra at 770-607-1017 or Debbie Childress at 914-536-6728. Corporate sponsorships are available as well and those interested should call Deanna Berry at 678-314-3556.