Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Annual March of Dimes Walk in Boston, MA - "Working Together for Stronger, Healthier Babies" #TeamKmart #MC #marchforbabies #Sponsored @Kmart

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting #MC for Kmart. I received product samples and a travel stipend to attend an event, and I received a promotional item to thank me for participating and a donation was made on my behalf to March of Dimes.

"The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs."

This past weekend, my husband and I, along with Savannah, spent the day in Boston.  We weren't there to do sightseeing or to visit family. Instead, I was chosen to participate in the March of Dime Walk on behalf of #TeamKmart.  I felt honored to be asked to join the thousands of local families that came out on Saturday, May 10th to walk, all while supporting the March of Dimes and their mission of stronger, healthier babies.

"Working together for stronger, healthier babies"

"Kmart, the number one corporate supporter of the March of Dimes Foundation, has launched its unprecedented fourth decade of fundraising support for the cause, kicking off its 2014 campaign with new ways to donate, and rewards for giving for Shop Your Way members (read on to learn how you can donate to the March of Dimes, as well as receive a 5% back coupon from KMart for your donation). This year also marks Kmart’s 22nd year as a national sponsor for the annual March for Babies® walks, which will take place this spring in 900 communities across the country. During the last three decades, Kmart has raised $114 million to help advance the critical work being done by the March of Dimes on behalf of newborns."

Having never participated in a March of Dimes walk, I didn't know what to expect.  But, as soon as I arrived at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River, I was welcomed by one of local March of Dimes representatives, who shared more about the walk, what was available for families during the event, including a NICU reunion tent for families to reconnect, fun arts and crafts for kids, along with face painting, music, FREE ice cream (which was a hit with both parents and children as it ended up being 80 degree by the time the event kicked off at 12:30PM), FREE lunch after the walk, and so much more.

As I walked towards the Hatch Shell with my family, I couldn't get over the number of people who had come out to participate in the walk.  You could feel their energy, which only increased as we listened to the Boston Family Ambassadors for this year's event, the Sweeney's, share their personal story, and kick off the event .  You couldn't help but feel for the mom, Christine, as she talked about having to spend over 3 months in the NICU with her twin boys, who were born too early at 25 weeks and only 1.5 lbs. each.  I can't imagine what she and other families with preemies go through when they see their little ones connected by tubes, having to stay in incubators, and not being able to come home until months later.  And, we can't forgot those preemies who unfortunately are not strong enough to survive, and leave our world too soon.

I have a few close friends who delivered preemie babies, and always tear up when they talk  about their stories and personal journeys, as they celebrate another birthday with their children, who are now healthy. If you didn't know they were preemies, you wouldn't be able to tell today, as they look like other kids their age, without any developmental delays or complications -- this is in part to the continued research and advanced to help lower the preemie rate.  And, the March of Dimes walk, which takes places all over the US, is just one way that funds are raised to continue to help families in need.

The walk itself was 3 miles, along the picturesque Charles River.  And, thankfully, the rain stopped earlier in the AM, so that sailboats and row boats were out on the water, taking in the nice weather, and thus offering a beautiful backdrop to this walk.

Being apart of the #TeamKMart group of walkers, I held a sign in support of the March of Dimes mission (that was when Savannah wasn't grabbing it from me to hold up), as my family walked side by side with families who lost their preemie babies, as well as those whose children were able to come home after receiving the care and attention they needed as a result of being born too early.  I was amazed at the number of family and friends who also came out to support these families, and how many were willing to share their personal stories.

I could spend a whole day writing this post to share each and every one of the stories I heard, but the one that stood out, and really kicked off the whole event was that of this year's March of Dimes Boston Family Ambassadors, the Sweeney Family, which consists of Christine and her now  15. yr. old twin sons, Jarrod and Tyler, with current Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney (who was unable to attend the event).

Christine kept referencing Boston strong and how everyone comes together to help one another, especially in instances like this walk.  The crowd responded to her words with clapping and cheering, as they all got excited for the green light to start the walk, which the Sweeney family led.

Overall, I have to say that even though this was my first March of Dimes walk, it will definitely not be my last.  And, after connecting with a handful of families and hearing their touching stories, I will be making donations to their walks next year, and looking for more family and friends to walk with my family next year, to support the babies.  And, just knowing that my participation, along with all the other families who came out and walked this past Saturday at the March of Dimes event in Boston, helps continue the mission to give hope to the more than half a million babies born too soon each year, really made this day and first walk that more memorable.


If you missed the walk, or there isn't a March of Dimes walk happening in a city near you, you can still donate and help this worthwhile cause.  Now through June 21, 2014, donors can contribute in-store at any Kmart and online via a link at kmart.com/marchofdimes, with 100 percent of funds raised benefiting the March of Dimes. In addition, this year, Kmart is rewarding its Shop Your Way members who donate in-store with a coupon for five percent back in points on their next qualifying in-store or online merchandise purchase. Also new this year, Kmart introduced a collectible puppy figurine, available in-store or online for just $5, with $1 from each sale benefiting the March of Dimes.

·     For more information or to donate, visit kmart.com/marchofdimes. Members are also encouraged to follow the Shop Your Way March of Dimes page at ShopYourWay.com/marchofdimes.

Your donations to the March of Dimes have helped moms and babies by:

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  • Providing the best information on healthy pregnancy and delivery
  • Advocating for better health care coverage for the most vulnerable
  • Fighting for better newborn screening standards in every state
  • Helping moms to overcome substance abuse with community outreach programs
  • Increasing access to prenatal care with mobile clinics and transportation to doctors
  • Educating generations of parents on the value of vaccination

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting #MC for Kmart. I received product samples and a travel stipend to attend an event, and I received a promotional item to thank me for participating and a donation was made on my behalf to March of Dimes.

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