MERRILLVILLE | Most parents can tell you that once they start walking, toddlers are on the go morning until night.
Yet the March of Dimes Indiana Chapter, Northwest Division, is asking supporters to spend just one morning talking a walk with a purpose - helping ensure that "One day...all babies will be born healthy."
This year's March for Babies will be held at two locations at 10 a.m. April 26, Highland High School at 9135 Erie St. in Lake County and the David A. Butterfield Pavilion at the corner of Calumet and Evans avenues in Valparaiso.
Teams are being formed now, and more volunteers are needed to form teams, create web pages, collect pledges and help the March of Dimes fund its many programs to champion the needs of mothers and babies locally and throughout the United States.
That's the message that went out last week at the Annual Community Leadership Breakfast hosted by Methodist Hospital at its Southlake Campus on March 3.
"We are trying to give every baby a healthy start - it's a big mission," said Cheryl Taylor, the new community director for the March of Dimes.
Introduced at the breakfast, Dolly Harris of Sigma Gamma Ro sorority's Alumnae Chapter in Gary, has been involved in the annual March for Babies for 25 years, and wouldn't miss it. "We have walkers and man a checkpoint each year," Harris said. "It's very important to give back...I just keep it going."
At the other end of the spectrum, April Brown is a nursing student at Indiana University Northwest who is forming a team for the second year. "It's a great cause," she said. "It raises money for premature babies, research and treatment of babies, and researchers coming up with new treatments."
Northwest Indiana March of Dimes Director Sandy Story-Moon encouraged business and health care leaders at the breakfast to start their own walk teams. "It's easy, you can go online (marchofdimes.com/Indiana) and set up a web page, honor a baby and collect pledges in their name. Our goal is $260,000 this year, and it goes right back into these counties through grants.
Melinda McShane of Citizens Financial Bank is a March for Babies Committee member who stressed the importance of volunteers walkers, who choose the distance they walk and have fun doing it. "It's probably the biggest party I've ever been to," said McShane, describing DJ music, lunch, pledge prizes, goody bags and other celebratory aspects of march day.
March for Babies
WHEN: 10 a.m. April 26 (Check in opens at 9 a.m.)
WHERE: Lake County march is at Highland High School, 9135 Erie St., Highland, and Porter County march is at David A. Butterfield Pavilion, corner of Calumet and Evans avenues, Valparaiso
COST: Collect pledges to donate to the March of Dimes Indiana Chapter, Northwest Division
FYI: Call (219) 736-0023 for information on forming a team