march for babies blog
WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 1, 2014 – (From left) LaVerne Council, chair of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees; Jill Teeters, mom of March of Dimes 2014 National Ambassador Aidan Lamothe; Aidan, age 6; and David Lamothe, his dad, all of Manchester, NH; Tim Austin, Senior Vice President Retail Services-Kmart, Sears Holdings Corporation and 2014 National Chairman of March for Babies; and Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes, at the White House prior to a private meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office today.
These national volunteers represented the March of Dimes and the nearly 500,000 babies born prematurely each year. Their visit continues the March of Dimes 68-year tradition of National Ambassador visits to the White House. March of Dimes National Ambassadors have met with every U.S. President since President Harry S. Truman.
To learn more about our National Ambassador Aidan Lamothe, please visit our website.
Yesterday at Exposition Park in Los Angeles celebrity volunteer Hilary Duff got ready to march for babies alongside Los Angeles MFB Host Crystal Egger from NBC4, our 2014 March of Dimes National Ambassador six-year-old Aidan Lamothe, and local leaders of our top national Team Kmart!
Thanks everyone who walked yesterday for babies!
Singer and actress Hilary Duff, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, supermodel Niki Taylor, and 3 million super volunteers and 20,000 companies have one common goal: they all March for Babies to help give every baby a healthy start.
Celebrities are again lending their star power to bring attention to this year’s March for Babies, the March of Dimes premier fundraising event that will take place in 700 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico at the end of April.
For more than 75 years the March of Dimes has helped moms and babies. From Frank Sinatra to Super Bowl quarterback Joe Namath, major stars always have supported the Foundation’s work for stronger, healthier babies. Nearly 4 million babies are born each year in the United States and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through cutting-edge research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
March for Babies has been held annually since 1970 and has raised a combined total of more than $2.3 billion to help all babies get a healthy start in life. The goal for this year’s event is to raise more than $106 million.
“Thanks to all our volunteers. The support we receive from every volunteer is invaluable and celebrity support always has been a hallmark of our history,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Today, thousands of companies and millions of people, including celebrities, sports stars, community leaders and families of babies born prematurely help support the March of Dimes work for stronger, healthier babies. I urge everyone to get involved with March for Babies by visiting marchforbabies.org.”
March of Dimes volunteers and staff visited the TODAY show this morning to raise awareness about upcoming March for Babies walks! Decked out in purple, volunteers brought posters showing their stories. Briana and Matthew Tortoso spoke with TODAY show correspondent Dylan Dreyer about their son JohnCarlo born 12 weeks early and shared that they are walking this weekend. It was a chilly morning but a great opportunity to help raise awareness about the March of Dimes mission!
With March for Babies in less than week, it’s time to get ready for the big day!
Before March for Babies:
Pack the essentials – fully charged cell phone, your team contact list (with phone numbers), team T-shirts and Band-Aids. Be sure to check the weather and back needed supplies based on the forecast (raincoat, umbrella, sunscreen, etc.)
Send a reminder to your team about the big day, including when and where you will meet at March for Babies, the forecast and needed weather supplies, and, of course, thanking them for their hard work. Planning celebrate your success following March for Babies? Be sure to include that in your reminder as well.
Looking for an opportunity to boost Team Spirit? Host a t-shirt and/or sign making party (perhaps at your next Team Meeting or after school) and, as a team, create signs and shirts for March for Babies. This is a great way to build excitement for the big day as well as promote your team’s success at March for Babies!
Following March for Babies:
Thank everyone who helped! Send letters, emails or visit those who donated in person, thanking them for their support. Be sure to let them know how much was raised and how important their efforts were. Encourage your team members to do the same!
Did a local business support your team? Give them an extra boost by thanking them personally and through social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Celebrate your success! Post photos of you and your team at March for Babies, along with your final fundraising totals, online, in class and throughout school. With administrative approval, ask to announce your success during morning announcements. Celebrate team members and top fundraisers with a picnic or party.
March for Babies is almost here! Here are some fundraising techniques as we enter into the final lap.
Send reminders: Did someone mention interest in donating but have not yet done so? They may have simply forgotten. Send them a reminder (letter, email or even talk to them in person) and let them know how close you are to reaching your goal!
Thank everyone: Send emails or write letters thanking those who already donated. Post your thanks publically on Facebook and Twitter. Remember to include how close you are to your goal. This may encourage another person to donate, or even inspire those who already donated to give more to help you reach (or exceed your goal).
Increase your goal: Have you reached you already reached your fundraising goal? Congratulations! On your March for Babies Online Fundraising Tool, increase your goal to raise even more for babies!
Skip your morning coffee purchase and donate to yourself. Don’t purchase coffee – skip eating lunch out and donate that to yourself. If your daily purchase costs $5, you could donate $25 in just five days!
Still need more tips and ideas?
Here are some great ways to raise $300 in a small amount of time:
• Start with your own $25 donation (from skipping your daily coffee or lunch purchase) = $25
• Ask four family members for $25 each = $100
• Ask five friends to donate $10 each = $50
• Ask four teachers/professors for $15 each = $60
• Ask five coworkers for $10 each = $50
• Receive three $5 donations after a Facebook post = $15
• Total raised = $300
There may be less than a month to March for Babies but there is still time to have a successful March for Babies season. Here are some tips to keep you on track as we head into the final lap!
Reaching (and exceeding) Your Fundraising Goal:
Maximize your contacts and those of your team members — keep talking about your team, why the March of Dimes is important to you and let donors know how their help can bring you closer to your fundraising goal.
Encourage donations— Post how close you are to your goal on Facebook, Twitter and school message boards (with permission). If you are three $10 donations from the goal, let the world know — these types of benchmarks really work.
Follow up— Contact people who said they were interested in giving but haven’t committed.
Note bank days— Ask your March of Dimes chapter when bank days are held and schedule a time to come by. Ask your chapter how to handle last-minute donations.
Keeping Your Team on Track:
Stay motivated — Send updates every few weeks to celebrate the team’s progress and to encourage team members to do even more.
Celebrate individual and team success – Did a team member achieve a goal? Did your team reach (or exceed) their goal? Provide a certificate or public congratulions to celebrate the accomplishment and motivate all members to keep going!
Build team spirit— Set up a day to make t-shirts and/or signs and banners that you’ll wear or carry while your walking on March for Babies day.
For more tips and best practices, check out the March of Dimes Youth Captains Guide available at www.marchofdimes.com/youth.
When we think about March for Babies and returning year after year, one of the big questions we are all asked is “Why I Walk” Today we have a guest post from Samantha, who shares her story and reasons for walking in March for Babies.
Why I walk
I walk because I was born premature in 1983 due to an ABO blood incompatibility. My Jaundice levels were 0.5 from being considered brain damaged.
I walk because my son, Jadon, arrived at 34 1/2 weeks, needing assistance to breathe, and still struggles with respiratory issues. He was on a cpap and received surfactant treatments to help improve his lungs. Nine year later the impact of missing those 5 1/2 weeks are seen through his asthma and breathing issues.
I walk because my daughter will never will. In 2006, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 25 weeks. My sweet Trinity, born at 11.4 oz and 10 inch, was just too small and passed away shortly after birth.
I walk because, after Jadon arrived early and we said goodbye to our daughter, I needed answers. I searched for answers. I searched for place where I felt people got it. I found the March Of Dimes. I found answers to some of the many questions I had and through the March Of Dimes I found Share Your Story. WOW! Share Your Story became my saving grace. It put me in contact with those who were dealing with preemies with breathing issues, ER trips, specialists, and hospital stays similar to Jadon. It put me in contact with people who share the pain of saying goodbye way to soon, like I had with Trinity. It gave me faith in myself as a mom again. Helped me through the dark scary days and cheered me on on my good days.
I walk because in 2011 I got pregnant again and was terrified. We said goodbye to that pregnancy two days after Christmas at just 6 weeks.
I walk because in 2012 we got the news that we had one more chance. Again I turned to the March of Dimes for information on 17-p shots, progesterone, and many other things. Again I relied on Share Your Story for the emotional support that comes along with a pregnancy after so many bumps in the road! In Sept 2012 we welcomed our son, Jaxson, into the world 8 weeks premature due to being in distress. The NICU once again became our home. We were blessed to bring him home 16 days later thanks to the surfactant treatments he received.
I walk because my boys’ stories show how far the March of Dimes has come. But my daughters story shows how much work we still need to do. I walk for every mom that will have a baby that arrives early and turns to the internet searching for information and understanding. I couldn’t imagine where I would be If I hadn’t came across the March of Dimes and Share Your Story websites.
I walk so one day all babies are born full term and healthy… won’t you walk with me?
How much fun does this look?
March of Dimes National Ambassador Aidan Lamothe got to spend some pre-race time with Jason Witten and Denny Hamlin yesterday. Make sure to follow Aidan Lamothe on Facebook to keep up to date on all his adventures!
The March of Dimes and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have been partners for more than twenty years. They were honored at the 2013 Volunteer Leadership Conference in Washington, DC (pictured above). In the last 5 years, along, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brothers have raised over $1 million to support the March of Dimes. In addition, several members serve as local Chapter Ambassador Dads and in 2011, we were honored to name Alpha Phi Alpha Brother, Densel Fleming as our 2011 National Ambassador Dad.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. develop leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for their communities. Members across the country participate in March for Babies for a variety of reasons. Todd Hamilton, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, shared his reasons with us.
Why I walk- I walk because my girlfriend was born premature. Before getting to know my girlfriend, I really did not know anyone else personally that was born premature. My girlfriend was born on December the 22nd, but her due date was supposed to be around mid-February. Because of this she had to be tenderly cared for and watched over in the hospital for about 8 months, then after that she was able to be bottle fed. What I have learned from my girlfriend is that as a premature baby they need care right away to make sure they are stable and able to live well out of the hospital setting. I do not know how my life would be if I did not meet my girlfriend, but I do know that without her my life would not be as bright as it is today, and that is why I, as a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. support March of Dimes.
- Submitted by, Todd Hamilton, member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Thank you Todd Hamilton for sharing your reason for walking. And special thanks to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for your incredible dedication and support of our mission.