Berks/Schuylkill Counties Pull Together for March for Babies!

March Of Dimes Biggest Fundraiser Helps Babies Be Born Healthy

(Reading, PA, 5/17/2015) ? Today at Penn State Berks Campus, 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. The event is expected to raise over $125,000 to help babies be born healthy.

March for Babies is the largest annual fundraising event for the March of Dimes. More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one of them through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.

Among the participants is the Rankin family, this year?s berks county ambassador family. Sabrina and Tyler were so excited to become pregnant and looked forward to starting their family. At 31 weeks, Sabrina went into premature labor. She delivered Anthony and Ryan 8 weeks early. Both Anthony and Ryan spent 39 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before being released. Today, Anthony and Ryan are vibrant 6 month-old babies, and the Rankin family is dedicated to making sure every parent has the same happy ending.

The Rankin Family is joined by Bill and Gwen Gage, the Berks/Schuylkill March for Babies Co-Chairs. Both Bill and Gwen, President and CEO of Gage Personnel, know how important the March of Dimes mission is. As business owners, parents and grandparentss, they took on the role to raise awareness and important funding to provide for babies who are born premature or with birth defects 25 years ago with their Annual Blue Jeans for Babies Bash and continue to do so today.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with the 2.5-mile walk kicking off at 10:30 a.m. Participation in March for Babies will provide a memorable and rewarding day for the whole family including, live music, costume characters, face painting, kids crafts and more. To register for an event in your community, visit

A special time of remembrance will be included during the morning ceremonies. White carnations will be presented to those families that have experienced the loss of a child and they have an opportunity to customize a plaque for the Garden of Angels. It will be a special moment offering comfort, hope and a promise that the steps taken at March for Babies will help reach the day when all babies will be born healthy. After the walk ends any person who spent time in the NICU is encouraged to join in the Preemie Parade so that we can celebrate the success stories.

Today, one in every nine U.S. infants is born preterm. Due to concerted efforts by the March of Dimes and our partners, this number has gone down for the past seven consecutive years, but it is still too high. Prematurity can lead to a host of adverse health consequences for these babies and place a terrible strain on their families. In addition, preterm birth carries a significant cost to businesses and our economy. The average premature birth costs 12 times as much as a healthy birth.

Funds raised by March for Babies in Pennsylvania help support prenatal wellness programs, research grants, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) family support programs and advocacy efforts for stronger, healthier babies. Currently, the March of Dimes is investing more than $89 million nationally and nearly $3 million in Pennsylvania in research and programs.

The March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, and top sponsors Famous Footwear, Macy?s, Cigna, United Airlines and Mission Pharmacal. In Berks and Schuylkill Counties, March for Babies is sponsored by Penn State Berks Campus, Y102 Gage Personnel and East Penn Manufacturing. Geisinger Health System is the March of Dimes Pennsylvania Prematurity Partner.

For more information or to donate to help babies be born healthy, visit or call (610) 814-7006.

About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and information, visit or Find us on Facebook and Twitter.