WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the March of Dimes will continue the organization’s tradition of research to promote healthier babies by holding a fundraiser walk called March for Babies on Sunday.
Founded in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fund the fight against polio, the March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and their babies.
The March for Babies will be held at King’s College’s Betzler Field in Wilkes-Barre Township. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk starts at 10.
After the walk, the day will feature family fun, including refreshments, entertainment, activities for children, and much more.
The longest running walk-a-thon began in the 1970s as a way to raise proceeds for research to prevent premature births, prenatal wellness programs, research grants, neonatal intensive care units, and family support programs.
Last year the walk-a-thon raised $130,000 nationally, said Deborah Pollock, executive director of the March of Dimes.
The March of Dimes has yielded health advances that have decreased infant deaths from infectious diseases and birth defects, said Pollock.
After experiencing four premature births and one infant death, the Wendolowski family, of Peckville, knows the importance of these health advancements.
Chosen by the March of Dimes as the family ambassador for the local event, the Wendolowskis have taken their role seriously.
“It is surprising not a lot of people know what they do,” Nicole Wendolowski said, referring to the organization.
With various fundraisers planned throughout surrounding areas, she hopes to raise awareness of the March of Dimes as well as funding for her family’s team, Team Wendo in Memory of Aria.
Aria was the family’s second child, born at 17 weeks. Aria lived for two hours after birth. Her memory is still strong and is a driving force for Team Wendo.
“The March of Dimes gives me a positive way to deal with the negative,” Nicole said.
The Wendolowskis now have three children: Cole, 11, Athena, 3, and Alexa, 2. All were born prematurely, despite Nicole’s best efforts to be healthy. The longest term baby was 35 weeks.