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 was an exciting day for our National Ambassador, Nina Centofanti! She traveled to DC with her family and was joined by Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes, and Bill Fitzgerald, Vice President and General Manager of GE Aviation. She toured the White House, saw the West Wing, and even met President Obama! It was a day this special 8-year-old girl will never forget.
Left to right: Julie Fronckowiak, Corporate Relations Manager; Dr. Howse; Ambassador parents Chris and Vince Centofanti with their children, Mia, Nick, and National Ambassador Nina Centofanti; and Bill Fitzgerald.
We’ve done it! Thanks to all of you, we’ve reached the our goal of 25,000 signatures on our petition to light the White House purple for preemies! What’s next? All signers will receive an email response about the petition from the White House and we will post the White House response here as well. We deeply thank each and every single one of you for supporting us! By signing the petition, you are helping to support and raising awareness for preemies and their families all across the country! Thank you!
Today is White House Wednesday! Today we need you to help make a big push to light the White House purple on January 3, 2013 to honor families whose children are born too soon. With your help, we’ll reach our goal of 25,000 signatures by November 17, World Prematurity Day!
Please go here and sign the petition — and encourage your family and friends to sign as well!
The volunteers and supporters of the March of Dimes have launched an exciting effort to light the White House purple on January 3, 2013 as a symbol of hope for premature babies. The White House is special to the March of Dimes because our founder was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who established our organization in 1938 during his second term in office. In the 20th century, the March of Dimes galvanized America to defeat polio. Today the March of Dimes is working to bring hope and support to the families of premature babies. We fund research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs to give every baby a healthy start in life.
To turn the White House purple, we need to secure 25,000 signatures on an online petition to support our request. Please go here and sign the petition — and encourage your family and friends to sign as well!
March of Dimes 2012 National Ambassador Kieran Wittstuck (age 6) and 2011 National Ambassador Lauren Fleming (age 8 ) were joined by their families and Mr. Gary Dixon, member of the March of Dimes national Board of Trustees, for a private meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House yesterday.
These special volunteers represented the March of Dimes Foundation and the more than half a million babies born prematurely in the United States each year. This visit continues a 66-year tradition of bringing March of Dimes National Ambassadors to the White House. National Ambassadors have met with every U.S. President since President Harry S. Truman. Follow our National Ambassador’s March for Babies® season travels at Kieran’s Blog.
In photo: (Left to right) Gary Dixon of Dallas, Texas, member of the March of Dimes national Board of Trustees, was joined by the March of Dimes 2012 National Ambassador family (Shalini, Shane and Kieran Wittstruck of Seattle, Wash.) and the March of Dimes 2011 National Ambassador family (Nikki and Densel Fleming (holding son Corbin), Ambassador Lauren and her little sister Erin, of Charlotte, N.C.)
Photo Credit: March of Dimes
Two families who know all too well the trauma of having a baby born prematurely visited the White House today to share their inspiring stories with President Obama. The Hall family from Leesburg, Va., and the Hoffman family from Weston, Fla., are ambassadors for the March of Dimes, a nonprofit foundation that works to prevent premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality.
“These brave families told the President that premature birth can happen to anyone, and when it does happen, it exacts a huge toll emotionally, physically and financially on families and the country,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “We need to invest more federal funding in research that will stop the rising incidence of preterm birth.”
Joined by LaVerne Council, secretary of the March of Dimes board of trustees and corporate vice president and chief information officer of Johnson & Johnson, the March of Dimes delegation also spoke with the President about how preterm births illustrate how critical it is for every pregnant woman and child to have access to health coverage.
Six-year old Katelyn Hall was born at only 25 weeks and was given a 5 percent chance of surviving. After a 5-month stay in newborn intensive care (NICU) and more than $1 million in medical bills, Katelyn’s parents Ashley and Michael were finally able to bring her home.
Joshua Hoffman, 7, of Weston, Florida, the March of Dimes 2010 National Ambassador, was born so early and with so many underdeveloped organs that doctors could not say whether he would survive — or if he would ever walk, talk, see or hear.
Josh spent 3½ months in the NICU and had many surgeries and treatments, including heart surgery, laser eye surgery and blood transfusions.
Premature birth has increased more than 36 percent in the last 25 years in the United States, and now affects 540,000 babies annually. It is the leading cause of newborn death and costs the nation more than $26 billion annually in health care costs, according to the Institute of Medicine.
The Hall and Hoffman families traveled to Washington courtesy of Continental Airlines, the official airline sponsor of the National Ambassador Program “Serving the March of Dimes and our community in this capacity is an honor,” said Jeff Smisek, Continental Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.