Monday, May 2, 2016 8:30 PM

Using our feet to fight for preemie patients

From January through March those of us who work with mothers and babies at Community Regional Medical Center worked to help raise a little more than $15,000 to support the work of the March of Dimes.
The March of Dimes’ current mission “to give every baby a fighting chance” is our passion too. There is a significant need here in the Fresno area. The State of California received a grade of B but Fresno received a C for preterm birth rates. Nearly 10% of babies in Fresno County are born premature and for the past decade our hospital has ranked first or second in California for delivering the most babies under 3 lbs. 6 oz. Most days in our 85-bed NICU you’ll see babies born weighing half of that – less than 2 lbs. and able to curl up in the palm of their father’s hand.
The efforts of our Community Regional’s Women’s and Children’s Services (WCS) department – which includes NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), NICU pharmacy, Labor & Deliver, High Risk Antepartum, Antepartum testing, Postpartum and the Mother's Resource Center – culminated with the March for Babies walk on April 9 at Woodward Park.
The annual March for Babies walk is a nationwide fundraiser to provide support for families with infants in the NICU and research to give every a baby a fighting chance.  Every hospital in the valley was represented at this event.  Despite the fact that it was raining and cold, Community Regional employees showed up in large numbers to support this wonderful cause. As a matter of fact, we had the largest number of walkers of all the hospitals.   
Our team captain Sarah Tharp did a fantastic job heading up this fundraiser and we added $5,171 to the hospital’s $10,000 premium sponsorship. We also received second place in the T-shirt competition. 
Community’s mission is to improve the health status of our community and these kinds of efforts are part of that. I felt so proud to see so many of my coworkers giving of their time and money to support the March of Dimes efforts to also improve the health status of our community. Our wonderful, caring employees really do a great job representing our mission and vision on a daily basis and I am honored to work with such an incredible group of people. We would like to encourage more people to join us next year for the fundraiser and walk. Our babies need your help and support. 
Did you know the March of Dimes literally started as a march to collect dimes to eradicate polio? This organization funded the research that helped find the breakthrough for the polio vaccine and even funded the research by Watson & Crick that uncovered the DNA double helix. So if you benefitted from that polio vaccine or your mom took folic acid to prevent birth defects while she was pregnant with you, you could count yourself as a March of Dimes baby.  Find out more in their video here:
Kelly Stawarski, RN
Clinical Nurse 2 in Obstetrics
Community Regional Medical Center