People often forget why the March of Dimes was organized because the organization has been around since 1938. Organized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who suffered the effects of polio, it began with door-to-door campaigns literally asking for dimes. The purpose was to provide support for moms and babies. The Lake-Sumter March of Dimes Walk is Saturday, May 8, at the National Training Center in Clermont.
Today, nearly 4 million babies are born in the U.S. every year, and the March of Dimes provides a lifeline for them across the country.
At the recent kick-off luncheon, guests saw videos and heard personal testimonies from those who have benefitted from the dimes raised for babies and mother throughout this area.
John and Peggy Broffman are the Ambassador Family for Lake and Sumter counties. Their son J.D. weighed only 1 lb. 11 oz. when he was born and was immediately put on a respirator and feeding tube. He lived only five days, but it was a time when his parents cherished him, and he was imprinted on their hearts forever.
“The March of Dimes was part of everything from Day 1,” John says, adding that their support was invaluable.
Two years later Peggy was 37 weeks pregnant and was urged by her doctor not to do the MOD walk, but she couldn’t be stopped. Liam was born soon after. Her third pregnancy ended at 37 weeks and three days. Haley was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at a hospital 45 minutes away from where her mother was. As John made trips between his two loves, the March of Dimes was with the family every step of the way mommy and baby were safely together at home.
Today, Liam is 5 years old and Haley is 3. “We celebrate Liam and Haley because of the March of Dimes,” John says. “And we remember J.D. with love and appreciation for their help.”
More than 400 people will be participating in the Lake-Sumter walk this year on Saturday, May 5, at the National Training Center in Clermont. The route is about 3 miles, from the Track & Field Complex, go North on Champions Way, East on Don Wickham Drive. Follow the trail going East on Oakley Seaver Drive. Turn right into the parking lot of Cooper Memorial Library exiting to N. Hancock Rd. going South. Go West on Legends Way up to Citrus Tower Blvd. and go North. Then, East on Don Wickham Drive and South on Champions Way back to the finish line at the Oval. For safety, walkers must stay on the route and follow all signals. Walkers are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
“I’ve done it for about 30 years,” says Cindy Chavis, who has a team with coworkers at Williams, Smith & Summers. “We’ve done the walk as a team for the past seven years.”
Barb Roland recently moved to the area from Dallas, where she had participated in the MOD walks since 1990. “At first, I did for the challenge, but after I had my children, it really made me aware of what the March of Dimes does. My kids were healthy, and I had the care I needed, and I was grateful.”
This year is the 80th birthday of the March of Dimes, and they created a new logo to show their spirit of continuing the fight for moms and babies.
Gus Grizzard, of ERA Grizzard Real Estate, shared the story of his niece Emily, who spent time in NICU when she was born, but recently celebrated her first birthday and is doing well.
According to the MOD, more than 224,200 babies are born every year in Florida, and 22,407 are born preterm, 6,796 have birth defects, and 1,322 infants die before their first birthday.
The walk includes a Super Heroes Walk for kids complete with purple capes. Cost is $20 for the first child and $10 for each additional child.
Make a difference. Go to marchforbabies.org and register for the Lake-Sumter March of Dimes walk for 2018. The goal this year is $240,000, and you can make it happen!
Date: Saturday, May 05, 2018
Registration: 7am | Start: 8am
Walk distance: 3 miles
National Training Center
1935 Don Wickham Drive
Clermont, FL 34711