WalkAmerica raises more than $100,000 for March of Dimes

April 28, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

Tracy Divelbliss said she decided to volunteer for a March of Dimes walk on Saturday morning for personal reasons.

The March of Dimes, an organization that works to improve the health of babies by finding ways to prevent birth defects, premature births and infant mortality, helped Divelbliss pay her hospital bills after she gave birth to twin sons eight years ago.

Divelbliss said the twins were born at 27 weeks and weighed a little more than 2 pounds each.

"If it wouldn't have been for organizations like this, I wouldn't have been able to afford medical care," the restaurant worker from Maugansville said. "It cost $132,000 per child ... They're in good shape."

Melissa Clark, division director of the March of Dimes' Western Maryland Division, said about 600 local volunteers raised about $111,000 on Saturday morning during the 37th annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2007.


Clark said the walkers generated money by soliciting sponsors. The five-mile course started and finished at Long Meadow Shopping Center, wrapping through Hagerstown along the way.

"The leading cause of death in the first year of life is a baby being born premature," Clark said. "One out of eight (babies) is born premature."

Clark said she was thrilled at this year's result. In 2006, about 500 walkers raised roughly $96,000, she said.

"More babies will be helped and saved through this process today," Clark said.

This year's walk had a lot of help from the community, walk chairman B.J. Goetz said.

Hamilton Nissan allowed organizers to advertise on its airtime, and several local businesses started teams to participate, Goetz said. The Hagerstown Jaycees set up tents to serve as shelter for the volunteers.

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