March for Babies fundraiser attracts more than 600

  • Erin and Jason Marshall with their 6-month-old twins, Jackson and Charlotte Marshall, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., officially start the Western Maryland Division March of Dimes March for Babies four-mile walk Saturday at Fairgrounds park in Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- It was 12 days before Amanda Taylor was due to give birth to her first child.

Her baby was a boy and she had decided to name him Jesse.

Taylor had been planning and preparing for his arrival. But that day, her plans were shattered by events for which no mother could prepare. Her blood pressure suddenly spiked and she had to have an emergency Caesarian section. During the procedure on June 30, 2007, Jesse died.

Jesse was among the babies remembered Saturday morning in the memory garden of pinwheels at the March of Dimes' March for Babies at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown.

Taylor, 26, of South Mountain, Pa., joined in the effort to raise money for the March of Dimes, an organization that works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. She pushed a stroller with her 17-month-old daughter, Jesslyn, who is named after Jesse.


"It's an amazing walk. I get to see babies here that I know were born premature. It's good to see them out here and know that they made it," Taylor said. "It's like the March of Dimes motto says. I like to think of a day when every baby will be born healthy."

Jessica Wagoner, director of the March of Dimes Western Maryland Division, said more than 600 people joined in the walk. She expected the event to raise more than $85,000. Participants walked a course as individuals, and on family and corporate teams.

"Some people walk in honor of a baby who was born premature with a birth defect. Others walk in memory of one that was lost," Wagoner said.

Janelle Weddle, 26, of Hagerstown walked with her family, including her 2-year-old twin sons, Noah and Elijah, who were born prematurely. Weddle's doctor put her on bed rest in her 28th week of pregnancy due to preeclampsia, a condition in which hypertension arises.

"My kidneys started to shut down. It was a matter of my health, so (Noah and Elijah) had to be delivered. It was really scary. Very scary," she said.

Weddle said she wanted to get out with her family to help the March of Dimes generate awareness and funding for its mission.

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