Why Do I Walk for Babies?

I’ve been asked a few times the last couple of weeks why I support the March of Dimes. It seems like a silly question to me. I mean, who doesn’t want babies to be born healthy? You don’t have to be a parent or even want to be a parent to sympathize with an ailing child or the parent of one but that is not the only reason why I get up at 6am on a Saturday to walk 5k in Phoenix every April.

The Stats Suck, Seriously

The US is 46th on the CIA World Factbook’s Infant Mortality rate – 46th! The United Nations ranks us at 33.

12.9% of all births are premature, resulting in over 8,000 deaths every single year.

120,000 babies are born each year with birth defects. Birth defects are the leading cause of death in a child’s first year and 70% of the causes for these defects are currently unknown.

You have a greater chance of having a child with a birth defect than you do of winning any lottery prize.

I Was Lucky & I’m Grateful

About 7 months into my pregnancy I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Now, I’m not your average patient: I started college in a premed program, my father, mother and step mother are medical practitioners, my stepfather is an ob/gyn, but yet none of that helped me avoid a life threatening condition. I managed to make it to 36 weeks through more than a  month of bedrest, my kidneys shutting down and a series of strokes BUT I gave birth to a perfectly healthy 6lb 5oz boy. I am awed by that stroke of luck every single day.

I Have Family & Friends Who Were Not

It’s amazing to me what medicine can do to help a baby born prematurely or with a birth defect. I’ve visited the neonatal wards in three different hospitals, held babies light as feathers and no bigger than the span of my hands and cared for children who’ve had more surgeries in the first six months of life than I’ll ever have. I’ve tried to support those I love the most through long nights hoping and praying for miracles.

And I have been there to provide comfort when women I care for had to bury their child. There isn’t anything more heartbreaking then that. Period.

How Can You Help?

You can help sponsor my team here or me directly here.

The March of Dimes needs volunteers to help with the event. Call Robin Zenno at 602-287-9923.

Come out and cheer us on! Or keep an eye on Twitter, I’ll be posting throughout the walk and the celebration after.

~ by Oden on April 13, 2010.

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