March for Babies scheduled for May 6

March of Dimes walk to help raise funds


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville edition of March of Dimes' annual fundraiser, March for Babies, is scheduled for May 6 at Jacksonville University.

Premature birth is the leading cause of death among babies in the United States. It affects about 380,000 babies born each year, including 22,387 in Florida. Funds raised by March for Babies in Jacksonville support March of Dimes programs that provide comfort and support for moms and babies as well as innovative research to find the unknown causes of premature birth and birth defects.

This year’s Jacksonville ambassador family is the Freidensteins, children Eden and Elliot and parents Jennifer, and James. Jennifer and James were excited about becoming parents in 2011 but their babies arrived unexpectedly at only 24 weeks, weighing a little over two pounds.

They suffered from a variety of conditions such as heart valve complications, brain bleed, kidney failure, just to name a few, spending their weeks fighting for life in a hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Jennifer and James are dedicated to making sure other parents don’t have to experience the same trauma and are able to know the joy of a healthy child. 

On-site registration is scheduled to begin at  7:30 a.m. with the 3-mile walk begriming at 9 a.m. Jacksonville residents can sign up at marchforbabies.org/event/firstcoast to start a team with co-workers, family or friends; or make a donation to help more babies get a healthy start in life.

"This year for the first time, participants will have the opportunity to walk through our Memory Mile and visit our unforgettable March for Babies Memory Garden," Chad Patrick, CEO of Orange Park Medical Center, the chairman of the walk. "Those who have experienced loss will find a meaningful way to remember their baby by planting a flower in our butterfly garden."