High Country marches for the babies this Sunday
The 2010 High Country March for Babies takes place on Sunday, April 18, at Kidd Brewer Stadium on the Appalachian State University campus.
Hundred of individuals representing dozens of teams will gather for the annual fundraiser for the March of Dimes that helps save the lives of numerous babies in the area every year.
The family friendly event begins with registration at 2 p.m. - rain or shine - with the walk and all the fun from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Returning as this year's co-chairs are Charlie Cobb, ASU athletic director, and his wife, Lindsay, along with Dr. Scott St. Clair of Blue Ridge Pediatrics and his wife, Cameron.
"We are honored to have the Cobbs and the St. Clairs lead the way for the second year," said Elizabeth Franklin, Foothills division director for the March of Dimes. "When our leaders publicly stand with a cause they support, they show the whole community the value of volunteer service and community involvement. Under their leadership last spring, the walk was transformed into a family fun event, and participation tripled from 2008."
Both the Cobbs and St. Clairs have their own personal stories to tell about how March of Dimes helped save their babies and how its funding helped promote the well-being of their children.
Lindsay and Charlie Cobb were excited about the birth of their first child in 1997. After a perfect pregnancy, Lindsay had complications at 30 weeks gestation and went on full bed rest. Their son, Harrison, was born at 32 weeks and spent 23 days in the NICU in Atlanta.
In 2001, the Cobbs welcomed their second child into the world in dramatic fashion. Branan was born at almost 31 weeks via emergency Caesarean section. She spent 36 days in the NICU in Raleigh.
In 2005, the Cobbs moved to Boone.
The March of Dimes holds a special place in their hearts, not only because of their personal experience with the birth of their children, but also because of the many friends and colleagues who have experienced difficulties in pregnancy and childbirth in recent years.
The Cobbs say they are thrilled that the March of Dimes has saved so many of these babies lives, and has also been a part of the births of so many healthy babies - especially the many babies born from staff in the ASU Athletics Department over the past four years.
The St. Clairs
Scott and Cameron St. Clair's first child, Price, was also born prematurely. The St. Clairs moved to Boone in July 2002 for Scott to join Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and their two younger children were born here.
They are the proud parents of Price, 10, Blane, 7, and Virginia, 5.
They are enthusiastic about helping with this year's March for Babies, not only because of Scott's professional interest in promoting the health of all infants, but also because of their personal experience with their oldest son. They share the March of Dimes belief that children's health is a top priority - all babies should have the chance to be born healthy.
This year's March of Dimes ambassador family includes Javier and Charity Martinez and their toddler twin sons, Trace and Tegan, of Pineola.
The March of Dimes helped bring them through a very difficult and quite unexpected journey.
During Charity's pregnancy, testing revealed that Tegan was growing in utero "much faster than Trace due to TTTS - twin-to-twin transfusion -a very dangerous complication in which twins share the same placenta and one twin 'takes' nutrients from the other. Trace was the 'donor' and Tegan the 'recipient,'" according to the Martinezes.
If gone undetected, both twins could have suffered extreme problems, possibly even death.
The infants were born via an emergency Caesarean section at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte last May, two months before their due dates. They were taken directly to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Trace weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces; Tegan was 3 pounds, 14 ounces. They stayed in the NICU for three and a half weeks before transferring to the Watauga Medical Center for
two and a half weeks.
"We were happy, scared, excited, nervous, and experienced many other emotions when we took our boys home," Charity said. "They are our precious miracles - God has blessed us beyond our imagination.
"Without the research and advances funded by the March of Dimes, our boys might not have made it. Thanks to their push to regionalize NICUs, we were able to be at a hospital within driving distance to our homes.
"The steroid shots I received were developed by March of Dimes researchers. Many other treatments and education for parents and practitioners that saved their lives has been funded by March of Dimes. That is why we will be walking and ask everyone to join us on April 18."
Today, at 11 months of age, the Martinez twin brothers are healthy, happy little boys.
March of Dimes support
"In order for the March of Dimes to continue to support all the efforts in the High County and North Carolina, the need for individuals and companies to participate in March for Babies is more important than ever," Franklin said. "Without the support from the High Country, the March of Dimes may have to cut back on research that saves babies' lives and may not be able to help all the families who depend on its highly respected programs like NICU Family Support that gives comfort and information for families with a baby in intensive care."
The most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today is premature birth. It affects more than half a million babies each year, with the number growing every day.
The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the answers to premature birth and providing comfort and information to families who are affected, she said.
Babies born healthy need champions, too, to be sure they have access to newborn screening and preventive health care. The March of Dimes is there for all babies, she said.
The St. Clairs, the Cobbs and the Martinez families invite the community to come out in force on Sunday to support the March of Dimes and its continued efforts to save the babies.
Kidd Brewer Stadium will be transformed into a carnival-like atmosphere where kids can play, while adults walk on the track.