On May 2, NSU will host the fundraising walk March for Babies on the main campus at 8:30 a.m.
The event is part of March of Dimes, an organization whose mission is to improve babies’ health by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality by funding research to understand these issues and learn how to prevent them. For example, the organization advocates for newborn screening and natal intensive care units.
Executive Director of March of Dimes Broward Valerie Vitale said this will be the third year the march is hosted on NSU’s campus, which usually welcomes 5,000 participants. This year, the goal is raise $889,000, up from last year’s goal of $862,000, which was surpassed.
Vitale said community members gathering for a positive reason is uplifting.
“When you’re surrounded by 5,000 people who got up that day, came out and marched for the hope that, one day, everybody will know what it’s like to have a healthy baby, it’s inspiring,” she said. “It’s a feeling that carries on with you for a while.”
NSU is a host sponsor, and the university does not charge March of Dimes for the event.
“It helps us be able to use more of the money being raised for our mission, and we couldn’t do that without NSU’s support,” Vitale said.
Registration begins at 7 a.m. and other morning events include an opening ceremony and a Zumba warmup session.
Gabriela Dreyfuss, whose family is this year’s Ambassador Family for the walk, will speak at the opening ceremonies. This is the second year the family participates in the walk as part of Team JPD, named for the intials for their son Jonah, who was born prematurely.
“It’s a huge weight lifted off to know that you’re not the only family that went through this or had an experience like this,” Dreyfuss said.
The three-mile route will include a section called Ambassadors Avenue, with photos of babies who have survived. Another section called Memory Mile includes names of babies who have passed away and serves as an opportunity for families to remember them. People will throw beads and a band will play to celebrate the end of the route.
Dreyfuss said participating in the walk is important for her and her family.
“We’re happy to help other families like ours and to not only raise money for this charity but raise awareness for premature birth and to raise the standards on how hospitals are caring for these premature babies and their families,” she said.
March of Dimes also includes complementary lunch, karaoke, giveaways, a kid’s corner and a disc jockey.
“They’ve really turned it into a beautiful event that families can enjoy with their kids,” Dreyfuss said.
To learn more about Dreyfuss’ team, visit marchforbabies.org/jonahpace.
To learn more about March of Dimes and find out about volunteering, call 754-300-2617.
Photo credit: marchforbabies.org