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An emotional march
Couple’s appeal kicks off fundraiser
Kickoff 1 parents jd
Amanda Meeks looks at husband Casey as he talks about their late daughter, Addison. - photo by Jim Dean
On the Net

For more information on the Forsyth County March for Babies, go online at
They will be marching for dimes, quarters and dollars, but mostly the 500 Forsyth County participants will march to give children a shot at life.

Team leaders for the Forsyth County March for Babies kicked off the annual March of Dimes fundraiser Wednesday.

Forsyth’s March for Babies event will be held at 10 a.m. April 24 at Otwell Middle School.

Mary Brignati, the organization’s local community director, said more than 50 businesses, 500 people and 1,000 volunteers and donors participate in the event each year.

“We’ve done a lot of work toward finding the day when babies aren’t born premature,” Brignati said. “But there’s still more to do.”

Those gathered Wednesday learned why meeting this year’s $131,000 goal is so important.

Amanda Meeks was just 24 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to her baby, Addison. The child weighed 12 ounces and was just 10 inches long when born.

After five months of fighting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Addison Meeks passed away last week.

Brignati said when Meek and her husband, Casey, spoke at the kickoff, “it was a big tear-jerker.” The couple talked about how they would not have had the past couple months with their daughter had it not been for March of Dimes’ research.

“They definitely got the message out about why we do what we do,” Brignati said.

Lynn Jackson, Northside Hospital-Forsyth administrator, said their story was “touching.”

“It broke our hearts,” she said. “They were very courageous to come share their story with us. I think it was very motivational and made us even more determined to go out and be successful in our campaign.”

March of Dimes spends more than 75 percent of its proceeds funding research and programs to help premature babies live healthy lives.
Teams will be doing traditional fundraisers and will be seeking help online, but Jackson said the economy has dictated new strategies to get donations.

Water bottles were passed out at the kickoff, which was held at the hospital.

If everyone drank the water and then got help from friends and co-workers to fill the empty bottle with dimes, Jackson said, that could bring in nearly $100 per person.

“We know that fundraising at this point, with the economy and with the recent crises elsewhere in the world, there’s a lot of competition for the donation dollar,” she said. “So we’re trying to reach out to simple ideas.”