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As the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes (MOD) nears, the BWH Strollers team is gearing up to walk in the organization’s annual March for Babies, in support of healthy mothers and babies.
This will be the eighth year of participation for the BWH team, which has cumulatively raised more than $164,000 for the cause. The 3-mile walk will be held May 11, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade.
For most BWHers participating, walking is a deeply personal journey. One of the Strollers, Stephanie Andrews, RN, is walking for former patients Brooke Holgerson and her son Dashiell “Dash.”
“Brooke was admitted to BWH’s Labor and Delivery Unit last year while she was 26 weeks pregnant,” said Andrews, a nurse in the NICU. Holgerson was diagnosed with a form of pre-eclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure that can lead to seizures during pregnancy if left untreated. The diagnosis meant she would need to give birth early.
She was treated by BWH’s Bruce Feinberg, MD, and Richard Burwick, MD, buying her baby 16 critically important days in utero while Holgerson remained on bed rest. Dash was delivered via C-section at just under three pounds. He spent 69 days in the NICU, where Andrews and the team cared for him as his lungs developed and got healthier.
“Those extra days made an immeasurable difference in Dash’s growth, strength and development,” Andrews said. “For parents, having an infant in the NICU is a very stressful and difficult time. I support the March of Dimes and its effort to give every baby a healthy start at life. Each year, I walk with memories of all the patients and families who have touched my heart.”
Today, Dash (pictured at right) is a healthy one-year-old joy. “He’s a healthy, happy baby,” said Andrews. “And that is the great, amazing, incredible gift his nurses and doctors at BWH gave him and his family.”
After being founded to eliminate polio and succeeding in that mission, the MOD shifted its focus to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortalities.
In 2012, for every $1 raised by the BWH Strollers, Massachusetts received $3 in grants and programs from the March of Dimes, including funding for the training, development and resources for a family support specialist in BWH’s NICU. MOD has also granted $865,000 for medical research at BWH.
To join or support BWH Strollers, visit www.marchforbabies.org/team/bwhstrollers.