An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year and more than one million of them do not survive their early birth. Although the United States has seen sustained improvement in its preterm birth rate, it has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country.
Next month, organizations and individuals around the globe will observe Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day. World-famous photographer Anne Geddes, and international superstars Thalia and Hilary Duff, will join other celebrity parents to spread the word that premature birth is a very serious health problem for babies worldwide.
“I’m working with the March of Dimes to prevent premature birth, the leading cause of newborn death. Every newborn deserves a healthy
life,” said Mrs. Geddes. “With each week these precious babies stay and thrive in the womb, the risk of death and disabilities is significantly reduced.”
Prematurity Awareness Month events are scheduled nationwide throughout November. Prominent buildings and landmarks in
several states, including the Empire State Building in New York City, will be shining in purple light to symbolize hope for a healthy start for more babies. There also will be professional education programs, as well as family events and gatherings.
“Raising awareness of premature birth is the first step to defeating it,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.
“Our thanks go out to the celebrities, state officials, and business and community leaders who are working to bring attention to this serious infant health problem. March of Dimes is dedicated to giving all babies a healthy start in life. We’re investing in research and programs to prevent preterm birth so more women will have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.”
November 17 will be recognized around the globe as the fourth annual World Prematurity Day. More information is available at:
facebook.com/WorldPrematurityDay where families and volunteers can share stories and videos about babies born too soon.
The page features an interactive world map showing the home place for each story told. It also will include messages from internationally recognized celebrities.
Anne Geddes, renowned for her baby photos, has created and donated a signature image of a baby born too soon, cradled in the hand of a Leonardo Da Vinci-inspired sculpture, which is being used in social media and donated advertising to draw worldwide attention to the
need to prevent preterm birth.
As a volunteer ambassador for the March of Dimes, she is also featured in a global public service message in a neonatal intensive care unit to show how delicate life is for premature newborns. These messages are being placed internationally to raise awareness about the need to prevent preterm birth and the work being done to give more babies a healthy start in life.
Thalia, Latin Grammy Award-winning recording artist, actress, and media personality, serves as a global ambassador for the March of Dimes. As part of her ongoing commitment and support to the cause of healthier babies, she will help reach millions of fans worldwide with her recorded public service message about World Prematurity Day in Spanish and English.
Actress, singer and busy mom Hilary Duff is also lending her voice to the prematurity campaign. As part of her year-round volunteer support of the March of Dimes, she recently released a public service announcement featuring her new music in support the Foundation’s global awareness campaign.
Prematurity Awareness Month isn’t just for celebrities. There are several ways to get involved and lead a hand to support the cause for
stronger, healthier babies. Supporters are encouraged to sign up to raise funds at marchforbabies.org as a corporate or family team, or as an individual walker, for a March for Babies in their community. March for Babies is the March of Dimes signature fundraiser and the nation’s favorite walking event.
From November 8-23, customers at Famous Footwear stores can make a donation to the March of Dimes at the checkout. Those
that do, will receive a 10% coupon that they can use at a later date, and Rewards members who donate $2 or more will receive 15 bonus points.
Alex and Ani, makers of positive energy, eco-conscious products, created two “Special Delivery” expandable wire bangles
featuring a stork on a pink or blue background for the March of Dimes. The bangle is available at all Alex and Ani retail locations and alexandani.com with 20 percent of the proceeds donated to the March of Dimes.
Destination Maternity®, Motherhood Maternity®, and A Pea in the Pod® stores nationwide will be selling bracelets to benefit
the March of Dimes including one designed by fashion mogul, recording artist, and mom of two, Jessica Simpson. Each bracelet retails for $2, with $1 going to March of Dimes.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign is financially supported by Cigna, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, First Response, the Wellpoint Foundation, and gifts from millions of individual donors.
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March
of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and information, visit
marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org.