March for Babies is May 3 in Baxter
On May 3 at Forestview Middle School, hundreds of families and business leaders will join together in the March of Dimes annual March for Babies — the nation’s oldest walk fundraiser honoring babies born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive.
For the O’Reilly family of Brainerd, the cause is very personal. Jenny O’Reilly had a smooth and fairly uncomplicated pregnancy. So when her water broke at 31 weeks, she and her family were in a state of shock. Alayna was due on Dec. 22, a Christmas baby, but she was born too soon on Halloween.
“We were worried, scared and helpless and didn’t know what to expect,” Jenny said. “We were scared for what we were about to face but overwhelmed with excitement and joy that our little girl was here.”
Alayna spent the next two weeks in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at the St. Cloud Hospital.
That’s where the O’Reilly family benefitted from the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program. Jenny attended infant CPR classes connected with other families and got the information and comfort she needed.
“Not only did Alayna get the care she needed, but they made us feel like we weren’t alone,” Jenny said. “We had a chance to network with other parents who had babies in the NICU through pizza night and scrapbook nights. We loved all the little touches like handmade baby blankets they provided and pajamas for all of the infants. They think of everything!”
Today, Alayna is a happy and energetic 4 year old. The O’Reilly family will be marching at Forestview Middle School on May 3 to help give all babies their best chance.
March for Babies, the March of Dimes largest fundraiser, helps fund lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies.
People are encouraged to sign up for March for Babies at www.marchforbabies.org and start a team with co-workers, family or friends. Last year, more than 350 people attended the event — which raised more than $29,000.
For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Find out more on fundraising to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. The 2014 March for Babies is sponsored locally by Medica, Lakewood Health and the Power Loon.