On Saturday morning, I had the privilege of being a part in the annual March for Babies campaign on the steps of California’s state capitol in Sacramento. Sunny skies and brisk winds greeted thousands of walkers who helped raise over a million dollars in Sacramento in the March for Babies campaign to save the lives of premature babies.
The ceremonies began with a number of volunteers and organizations on hand to kick off the event. Tents were set up by a number of the sponsor organizations like Sutter Health, Health Net, and others as walkers came to sign up, get fed, and listen as Mix 96 emceed the opening ceremonies.
The morning events kicked off with the color guard from the Sacramento police and the singing of the national anthem. Sutter Medical Foundation CEO Tom Blinn and Sutter Roseville CEO Pat Brady welcomed the crowd and thanked them for their support. As the corporate sponsor for the Sacramento March for Babies, Sutter Health aimed for $150,000 towards the campaign this year. Because of Sutter Health’s presence, hundreds of walkers turned out for the event.
How March for Babies can change lives
In the efforts to save the lives of premature babies, the battle isn’t always won. A moment of silence was taken to remember the babies who died and pause to reflect on why this March for Babies campaign exists.
California Assembly member Dr. Richard Pan shared his thoughts and legislation being put forth for screenings of newborns to help prevent Bubble Boy syndrome, otherwise known as combined immunodeficiency syndrome. Dr. Pan’s remarks were followed up with the spotlight on the this year’s family – the Tudor family.
Young Emma was born premature weighing only 17 ounces at birth. She spent the first 423 days of her life at Sutter Memorial Hospital fighting for her life. Her battle was a hard fought one and she still deals with some health issues today. However, thanks for the doctors, nurses, and the efforts of the March of Dimes March for Babies campaign, little Emma is alive and well today.
As time drew closer, an instructor from California Family Fitness got everyone ready with some exercises and music. As 9 am approached, the walkers lined up led by the walkers and volunteers at Sutter Health. As the countdown began, the walkers began their 3 mile walk from the state capitol building through Old Sacramento, the Westfield Downtown Plaza and K Street Mall, and back to the steps of the capitol.
After walking through the streets of downtown Sacramento, walkers returned to the cheering of the Folsom cheerleaders and a warm welcome from the March of Dimes volunteers. Walkers lined up for free sandwiches and chips thanks to the generous help from Subway. Walkers were also greeted with free bottles of water and lined up to sign the March for Babies banner.
As the closing festivities began, people relaxed on the grounds of the state capitol and enjoyed the sounds of The Ryan Hernandez Band. While music played, people enjoyed the weather and the free food.
Others walked around to see the classic cars on display in front of capitol as part of Niello’s efforts in the March for Babies campaign. Around 11:30, two bikes were raffled off to winners and as the day came to a close, many tired, wind-burned, and sun-burned walkers returned home as they enjoyed the walk to help save the lives of premature babies.
I was fortunate to be able to participate and raise money. I am thankful to friends, family, and fellow travelers who donated and encouraged me in my walk. If you want to understand why I joined the March for Babies, read my story on how travel and my kids helped me get involve in the March for Babies campaign.
Thanks to all the walkers, fund raisers, and volunteers in Sacramento and around the nation as millions of dollars were raised to save the lives of premature babies through the March of Dimes March for Babies campaign!