March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™
The U.S. remains among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth, especially for women and babies of color. It's unacceptable. Together we can close the health equity gap and end preventable maternal and infant risks and death.
Your support is so important to giving every family the best possible start.Register now
March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™ calls on people across the country to unite and fundraise to make a huge difference for the health of all families.
By joining us in this movement:
for health equity, opening the door for all moms to have access to care and protecting the health of families by advocating for their rights.
year-round through customized challenges and team building activities that engage employees, families and friends who want moms and babies to be healthy and strong.
motherhood, babies and those who've experienced loss by staying active and creating change.
for all families throughout their pregnancy—whether it goes as planned or has unexpected challenges—by raising critical funds, so moms and babies get the best possible start.
Meet our families
MEET THE SICIAKS
Hope and healing at March for Babies
APRIL 2023, WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a poignant interview at the March for Babies walk, Kate and Dustin Siciak share their emotional story and commitment to supporting March of Dimes.
In February 2022, following a healthy pregnancy, Charles "Charlie" Siciak entered the world. Born with a nuchal cord (when a baby's umbilical cord becomes wrapped around their neck in the womb), he spent six days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Unfortunately, Charlie never got the chance to go home.
Today, Kate and Dustin aim to increase awareness about March of Dimes' vital work by sharing their story, acknowledging the critical role we played during their difficult moments—from the cooling blankets used to aid Charlie's recovery and the support from NICU doctors and nurses, and the assistance provided to the couple after returning home. "When my husband and I came home without our baby, the support groups that were there to help us, it was just incredibly impactful and was a huge saving grace," Heather shares.
The Siciaks involvement in March for Babies is a way for them to honor Charlie's memory, and to turn their grief into a powerful force for good. Along with a team of 40 to 50 supporters, they raise funds and share Charlie's story openly, emphasizing the incredible impact he had on their lives during his six precious days. They also make a toast to Charlie at 9:30 every night in remembrance of his birth time. "To have the platform that March of Dimes has given us to share what happened to him, and to make sure people remember him has been incredibly impactful for us," Kate says.
The family's dedication and the support of their extensive network led them to become the top fundraising family in the Circle of Champions at the March for Babies event. This year, they were honored as the "Unite Family," a recognition that holds a special place in their hearts. By representing those families who have faced unexpected challenges during childbirth, the family becomes advocates for education and awareness.
The birth of James, Charlie's younger brother by three months, adds a layer of hope to the family's story. Pregnancy after infant loss brought its unique challenges, but James continues to bring so much joy to Kate and Dustin. "It's important to us to have these opportunities to be a family where Charlie is represented, so James will always know he had an older brother," Kate says. "All of his friends and family support Charlie and remember Charlie."
Through their involvement with March of Dimes, the Siciak family will continue to share their story, hoping that others will find comfort in their journey. They acknowledge the importance of these shared experiences, helping families navigate the complexities of grief, loss, and hope after loss.
MEET THE SMITHS
Marching for Babies: A preemie's journey of hope and legacy
APRIL 2023, WASHINGTON, D.C.—The upbeat atmosphere at March for Babies is punctuated by music playing in the background, setting the tone for a day filled with hope, remembrance, and the shared commitment to fighting for the health of all moms and babies.
Cynthia Smith is a living testament to the challenges faced by preterm babies, born 26 weeks early and weighing a mere 2 pounds, 14 ounces. In honor of her late mom, Janette E. Carrington, a dedicated supporter of March of Dimes, Cynthia has carried on the tradition by participating in March for Babies.
This year marks Cynthia's 13th consecutive year walking, raising awareness and funds. With each step, she not only walks to create awareness around preterm birth but also to keep her mom's dream alive. "I represent preemie babies," Cynthia shares. "My mom had me when she was a teenage mother, and March of Dimes helped her. After her passing, I discovered she had raised a significant amount for this organization."
But March for Babies isn't just a fundraising event for Cynthia—it's a celebration of life and a tradition for her family. She proudly shares the story of her family's commitment, with her brother and nephew coming from North Carolina, highlighting the impact the annual walk has had on her family.
With over $35,000 raised in 13 years for team "Janet's Baby Girl", Cynthia is a Circle of Champions member, consistently ranking on the leaderboards. Her fundraising techniques are creative, using her graphic skills to connect with donors. She personalizes her interactions, posting pictures with individual donors, thanking them for their contributions, and fostering a sense of community.
Cynthia emphasizes the importance of sharing her story, even if people aren't able to donate, as her efforts go beyond fundraising—they're about teaching, raising awareness, and touching hearts. Representing the "Connect Family" at this year's march, she continues carrying forward her mom's legacy and helping March of Dimes create a world where every mom and baby is healthy and strong.
MEET THE HAMILTONS
Honoring Elsie's legacy: A couple stands tall as 'Honor Family' at March for Babies, turning tragedy into triumph
APRIL 2023, WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a bustling gathering of families and supporters at the March for Babies walk, Heather and Alister Hamilton, along with their son Graham, share their story of loss.
It all started at Heather's 20-week ultrasound, when the couple learned that their baby, Eloise Helen, was severely growth restricted. Then a month later, they discovered Heather had HELLP syndrome (a life-threatening pregnancy complication usually considered to be a variant of preeclampsia). She needed to have an emergency Cesarean delivery.
Elsie was born preterm at just over 24 weeks, and she didn't even weigh a pound. She fought for 15 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), but the battle against prematurity was too much for her fragile body, and she passed away.
Despite their profound loss, the Hamiltons found comfort and purpose in their connection with March of Dimes. The support they received during Elsie's time in the NICU, along with our contributions to research played a crucial role in their subsequent pregnancies. "We had an ectopic pregnancy after her and then my son's birth was also high risk because of my history," Heather shares. "March of Dimes' research has led to a lot of interventions that gave us a successful third pregnancy."
March for Babies became a tangible way for Heather and Alister to honor Elsie's memory and contribute to the cause. Being the "Honor Family" allows them to provide hope and support to other families facing similar struggles. "It's this opportunity to get to celebrate her, Heather says. "As we honor Elsie through March of Dimes, we get to lift up her story, hopefully show other families going through that same kind of walk that there are ways to continue forward with your lost infant in your hearts, and also get to honor our family and the story and struggles that we've gone through."
The Hamiltons reached the status of Circle of Champions, a recognition that brought them a sense of accomplishment and thankfulness for their family and friends who support them year after year.
For other families who have experienced infant loss, Heather shares this message: "It gets better, and there are lots of positive ways to move forward with your story. It's not the end; it doesn't have to be the end of your story."
MEET THE GRANTS
Walking with purpose toward a future where preterm birth is no longer a threat
APRIL 2023, WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the brisk morning air, amidst the excitement of the annual March for Babies walk, Chelsie Grant, the resilient mom of a once-preterm baby, takes a moment to share her powerful story.
Chelsie Grant's involvement with March of Dimes began in her college years, when a friend's invitation led her to volunteer for walks and spread awareness about crucial topics like folic acid. Little did she know that her journey with the organization would take a personal turn years later when her daughter, Sarah, was born at 23 weeks, weighing just 1 pound, 3 ounces.
While Sarah was fighting for her life in the Fairfax hospital for four months, March of Dimes was there. The NICU Family Support® team became Chelsie and her husband Carter's lifeline, offering emotional support, organizing a baby shower, and creating a sense of community in the challenging NICU environment.
Today, as Sarah stands tall at nine years old, Chelsie and Carter reflect on the significance of their ninth March for Babies walk. Despite Sarah's initial struggles, the family embraces the annual event as a celebration of triumph over adversity. "I really believe she wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for treatments that exist because of March of Dimes," Chelsie says. "So I think it's important to spread that word."
Chelsie emphasizes, however, that the walk is about more than just raising money—it's also a beacon of hope for parents and families experiencing the uncertainties of preterm birth. "It's really great to see people on their first walk out of the hospital, being able to see Sarah and how great she's doing," she says. "They might just be fresh out of the experience, so it's hard to picture yourself in the future. And I think this is a wonderful opportunity to let people do that."
The Grants proudly represent the "Care Family" in honor of the countless families who have overcome the odds. Chelsie continues to be a Circle of Champions member, having raised over $1,000 every year. To her, the Circle of Champions isn't just about fundraising—it's about being a part of a collective effort to make a difference.
Chelsie emphasizes the significance of the annual walk for Sarah: "Even though she doesn't necessarily remember being in the hospital because she was a baby, she understands her story matters." Sarah, now a thriving third grader, enjoys math, karate, and Girl Scouts.
The Grants radiate strength and hope, and stand as living proof of the positive impact of our research, advocacy, and education—which is only made possible by the support of families like theirs.
WHY WE FIGHT FOR HEALTHY FAMILIES
Each year, 1 in 10 babies is born preterm.
More than 5.6 million women have limited or no access to maternity care services.
The preterm birth rate is highest for Black (14.4%) and American Indian/Alaska Native (11.8%) babies.