Porter County March of Dimes fundraiser walk attracts all ages
By Diane Kubiak Post-Tribune correspondent April 30, 2011 10:58PM
In an average week in Indiana:
212 babies are born preterm
33 babies are very
142 are born with low birthweight
25 are born well below low birthweight
Source: March of Dimes
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
VALPARAISO — Seven-feet-tall mascots Hans Germie and Ebbasneezer led supporters of the March of Dimes event here Saturday in the “Chicken Dance.”
The rousing polka tune blared from speakers around the Butterfield Pavilion at Fairgrounds Park, where the 5.25-mile Porter County Walk began and ended.
More than 300 people registered to raise funds for the organization which has supported research into premature births, advocated for prenatal care and contributed to the development of drugs and equipment used in neonatal intensive care units nationwide.
“Each week in Indiana we have 1,700 babies born and March of Dimes has had an impact on all of them, said Victor Garcia, division director for Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties.
The Lake County walk will be today in Highland.
Beth Fletcher of Valparaiso, whose “Team James and Jake” has raised close to $30,000 in four years, recalls losing her twin sons in utero in her 19th week of pregnancy in 2008.
“Those are my twin sons who passed away in 2008,” she said, pointing to the logo on her T-shirt.
Fletcher said both she and her obstetrician learned much from the experience. Today, the happy mother of children ages 8, 7 and 1, and of one “on the way,” she hopes pre-pregnancy education and research will save other families from the loss her family experienced. “This is for all people,” she said of her team’s efforts.
“The Rough, Tough Cream Puffs,” a team led by
Jennifer Richey of Valparaiso, includes her two sons, Jacob, 5, and Zach, 11, who were both born preterm. The
team raised $4,000 for the event.
Now a Porter County representative for March of Dimes, Richey talks to families going through similar experiences. “We first walked when Zach was 2 weeks old,” she said.
Teams came from corporations as well as from families.
Dannielle Radoe, leader for Team Target, a 48-member group clad in bright red shirts and bandanas, said Target’s goal for both races is $2,000.
“We also donated 70 cases of water and $250 from contributions,” said Radoe, executive team leader of human resources at the Valparaiso Target.
LaVonne Jarrett of Gary sang the national anthem to begin the walk.
Studying for her master’s degree in health care management, she was recruited by Garcia, her classmate. “Victor is such a great marketer for March of Dimes. He’s got everyone in our class committed to doing something,” she said.