05-02-2008: news-local

By JAMES ZIEGLER
Bismarck Tribune

One out of every eight babies in North Dakota is born premature, according to statistics from the March of Dimes.

That number has grown at a rate of 33 percent over the last 10 years, putting the state fourth in the nation. In comparison, Minnesota's rate increased 12.7 percent in the same period.

One way the March of Dimes is working to reduce those numbers is through fundraisers like the March for Babies on Saturday morning.

The March for Babies began in 1970 as Walk America. It is the March of Dimes' biggest fundraiser.

The March for Babies in Bismarck will be the second to last one this year in North Dakota, and they have already raised roughly $200,000.

Funds raised from the march will go toward research into premature births and public education about it.

The march raises funds in several different ways. Businesses can hold their own internal fundraisers. Individual walkers can raise funds on their own or as a team by making a donation or collecting contributions from friends and family. This year walkers can even use Internet promotions to raise funds.

The option of using Internet promotions is offered by the March for Babies Web site, www.marchforbabies.org.

When walkers sign up to use Internet promotions they have the option of joining a team, starting a team or just doing their own promotion. They are then given a Web site, the address of which they send to friends and family who can make a donation directly through the site.

Sign-in for the march will start at 8 a.m., with the walk beginning at 9 a.m.

The march will start at the VFW Sports Arena. Weather permitting, walkers will follow the path around the Tom O' Leary golf course, but there is the option of holding the march indoors.

A talk will be given by the Bismarck March for Babies' ambassador family before it begins.

"We try to do that at each location. We try to find a local family that has been impacted by premature birth or the work of the March of Dimes," March of Dimes Community Director Ashley Gerner said.

The ambassador family in Bismarck will be Jeff and Nichole Enzminger, who will talk about their experiences with their triplets, Joseph, Nicholas and Benjamin, who turn 1 today.

Anyone wishing to sign up for the event can call 701-235-5530, visit www.marchforbabies.org or just show up for the sign-in before the march.



 

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