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March of Dimes event Wednesday

Kickoff will mark group's milestone

POSTED: February 3, 2013 12:27 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Matthew and Jessica Shuman, pictured here with their nearly 1-year-old daughter, Josie, will serve as this year’s Forsyth March for Babies ambassador family.

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The public is invited to help celebrate the efforts of the March of Dimes over the past 75 years during an event Wednesday.

The Forsyth County March for Babies kickoff is set for 11:45 a.m. at Northside Hospital-Forsyth Women’s Center.

“For 75 years, we’ve been working to figure out all the issues that are affecting mothers and babies and make sure that the babies all come healthy,” said Wendy Wyatt, the local community director of March of Dimes.

Each year the organization holds its largest fundraiser, March for Babies, in communities throughout the country. The 2013 Forsyth County march will begin about 9 a.m. April 27 at Otwell Middle School.

Wyatt said she’s hoping for good turnouts at both the kickoff and march.

“This is our 75th anniversary, so it’s a big year with big stuff going on,” she said.

Wednesday’s kickoff will provide the chance for anyone interested in participating in the March for Babies to learn more.

Supplies for walk teams will also be available, and Wyatt said something special is being planned in conjunction with the Northside-Forsyth Women’s Center, which will celebrate its fifth year of service in 2013.

“We’re hoping to have a [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit] reunion,” she said. “We’re inviting all the NICU graduates to come back … and eat and celebrate and see all their nurses again, just kind of revisit their Northside family, you could say.”

NICU facilities are where babies who are born premature often go to resolve health issues.

Also at the lunch event, this year’s March for Babies ambassador family will share how the organization has impacted their lives.

Wyatt said the family — Matthew and Jessica Shuman and their daughter, Josie — were touched by the devastation that having premature babies can cause.

Before Josie’s birth last year, Jessica lost a set of twins — Alice and Drake — due to pregnancy complications in 2011.

“[Jessica] was put on bed rest at the same point in her pregnancy [with Josie] that she lost the twins,” Wyatt said. “But she was able to carry Josie past full term, so she’s a real success story.”

Josie will celebrate her first birthday in March.

Jessica Shuman said being asked to serve as the ambassador family was “a great honor.”

“We’re really excited and really honored because the March of Dimes is something that we started raising money for a couple of years ago in honor of our twins,” she said. “ … It’s a charity that’s near and dear to our hearts.”

Wyatt said about 50 people have signed up for the kickoff, but there’s always room for more. The lunch is free to attend, but anyone wishing to come should R.S.V.P. by 5 p.m. Monday at (706) 372-5527 or wwyatt@marchofdimes.com.

“We’re going to try and keep it higher energy this year … I’m going to try and pep it up a little this year and we’re all hoping for a good time,” she said.

“I’m really excited about everything that’s going on in the community and kind of the resurgence that we’re feeling.”

 

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