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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

March of Dimes Puerto Rico announces 27th ‘March for the Babies’

Batman and The Joker set their differences aside to help announce this year’s “March for the Babies,” which will take place on Nov. 10 and will look to raise $250,000. (Richard Gutiérrez/The San Juan Daily Star)

By Richard Gutiérrez

Infancy is a rather cute stage for observers, a difficult stage for the parents and a sensitive stage for the baby. Even though infancy is the youngest stage of a person’s life, it is also the most vulnerable stage, as a child requires plenty of attention and care from the parent, almost 24/7.

Parenting is a job with no clock-out time or vacations; it is already very difficult to be a parent, and it becomes even more difficult when the babies come out of the womb prematurely. When this happens the child has a difficult time coping with the outside world after arriving in it so early; therefore, they need special medical attention in order to survive, due to the complications that arise from premature birth.

That is why charity organizations such as the March of Dimes (MOD) exist, to help families with premature children. Every year, March of Dimes PR stages the annual event “March for the Babies,” which is the most important fundraising event for the organization. On Thursday, the charity organization shared the details of the 27th edition of the event, even adding in a few interviews.

“It makes me so happy to be here, we are very proud and we want to help these children and their parents as much as we can,” said attorney Jorge Mata, an institutional sponsor of the MOD.

The March for the Babies is typically a huge event and this edition will be no exception, as the MOD expects around 3,000 people to attend. Walkers in the march will be composed of family groups, corporations, educational institutions, health institutes and community organizations. This year’s march will take place on Nov. 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Tomás Dones Coliseum in Fajardo, and will be sponsored by more than 20 different corporations and the municipality of Fajardo as well. The mission message, “For Your Health and the Health of Your Baby, Empower Yourself, Inform Yourself and Prepare Yourself,” is a call to mothers who are still at a reproductive age and wish to become mothers.

“Against the diverse challenges that we face, currently, as individuals and as a society, March of Dimes wants to transmit a message of solidarity and hope, especially for women in the reproductive stage who want to be mothers, to participate in the event,” said Alma Seda, executive director of March of Dimes PR.

This year’s ambassador family is the Rosa Gata family, José Rosa and Gabriela Gata, and their prematurely born son, Diego Rosa Gata. Rosa and Gata shared their experience as parents of a premature child. In fact, before she had Diego, Gata initially had a premature baby girl who sadly passed away after six days. Thanks to the MOD though, Gata’s second child, Diego, is alive and well, and quite the energetic child.

Apart from the family, Batman and The Joker from the nonprofit Real Heroes Puerto Rico set their differences aside to take part in Thursday’s event; they will also be participating in the March for the Babies, which aims to raise $250,000.

“In Puerto Rico, one out of eight babies is born prematurely,” said Milagro Caraballo, president of the March for the Babies. “Premature birth is the leading cause of death for infants and causes multiple disabilities both to the physical and mental health of the child, many of which can be permanent.”

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