The March of Dimes is asking local residents to March for Babies.
The nonprofits annual three-mile walk begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Rotary pavilion in Thompson Park. The event, which is the largest fundraiser for the agency, aims to raise money to help educate mothers on the importance of full-term births and healthy babies, according to Cristina S. Taormina, community director for the Central New York region.
The mission really is working to improve health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality, she said.
According to the March of Dimes, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, pre-term babies are more likely to face an increased risk of lasting disabilities, such as mental retardation, learning and behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, lung problems and vision and hearing loss.
Incentives are available for participants who raise between $200 and $20,000, or more. They range from a March of Dimes T-shirt to a prize package of a $600 Macys or Kmart gift card, T-shirt and pin and pen.
Nationally, about 76 cents per dollar raised for March of Dimes goes directly to programs.
Locally, those funds are disbursed through prenatal wellness programs, research grants, community grants and neonatal intensive care family support programs.
Ms. Taormina said March of Dimes offered the walk some time ago, and after a long hiatus started it back up again last year. The event remains small, with about 50 expected participants, but Ms. Taormina said shes excited to see it grow in the coming years.
People who would like to contribute but who cannot attend the walk may send a donation to March of Dimes, Central New York Division, 329 N. Salina St., Suite 304, Syracuse, N.Y. 13203.
For more information, call 463-0700, or type in 13601 in the zip code search tab on the website, www.marchforbabies.org.