“She weighed 1 pound, 3 ounces and was 12 inches long,” said Gracie Lynn’s mother, Rachel Wilson. “She was given a 5 percent chance of survival and was born at Cartersville Medical Center, [then] transferred to Grady where she spent 103 days ... and was able to come home. She is now 5 years old and clear of everything and as healthy as can be.
“The biggest ... [way] March of Dimes [assisted us] was March of Dimes was actually the one who donated the Angel II unit, which was Gracie’s transport unit that transported her from Cartersville to Grady. They actually had just donated it right before Gracie was born and that gave her the means to be able to be transported safely and give her the things that she needed to make it on the way down to Atlanta.”
As the March for Babies’ Ambassador Family, Wilson is looking forward to sharing her daughter’s story and helping raise funds March of Dimes’ May 2 walk.
“[We want to] get the word out of how important the March of Dimes really is to families all around,” she said. “We never [were] faced with a situation like this, so we really never knew much about March of Dimes until Gracie.
“Going through what I went through with her, [I was able to see] what they do for these parents and [how they help] educate all these parents. ... Another thing that kept me strong while she was in the [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit] was just reading all the survival stories on the March of Dimes’ site, giving me hope that it does happen and babies can survive through the things that they go through.”
The Bartow March for Babies campaign officially kicked off Friday, with organizers promoting the mission of March of Dimes and trying to recruit participants for the upcoming fundraiser. Set for May 2 at 7:30 p.m., the March for Babies walk — held at Cartersville’s Dellinger Park — will try to generate $48,500. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s a great honor for [Georgia Power] Plant Bowen to serve as the 2014 Bartow County March of Dimes chair,” said Janet Queen, project relocation coordinator for Georgia Power Plant Bowen. “I’m especially thankful that you will be joining me and as you will hear this afternoon, the support is needed. Our mission is achievable and our goal is to get you and your companies involved. The March of Dimes’ mission is urgent. Premature birth is common, serious and a costly problem in our state, in our nation and around the world. It takes a physical toll on our babies and an emotional toll on families and a financial toll on our society.
“One million seven hundred thousand working women have babies each year. When a baby is born prematurely, the average cost is almost $50,000 compared to just $4,000 for a healthy baby. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon often need follow-up care and appointments with specialists to address delays. The costs also are not limited to medical care. There is an early intervention and a special education, and for mom and dad many missed hours of work as their child grows up.”
According to March of Dimes literature, 353 babies on average are born prematurely in Georgia every week. The state’s preterm birth rate is 12.7 percent, which is 1.2 percent higher than the national rate.
Proceeds obtained through March for Babies’ sponsorships and team fundraisers will support the March of Dimes’ efforts to halt premature births, birth defects and infant mortality.
“I’m proud to be here today for the March of Dimes kickoff to tell you exactly why Georgia Power enthusiastically supports a March of Dimes’ [March] for Babies team,” Queen said. “From planning to fundraising to walking, the event is a tremendous team-building opportunity. The effort and time we spend on this worthy cause has created a spirit of goodwill and trust that truly has become the facet of our day-to-day business life.
“Also, it’s an excellent training opportunity for individuals to step up and to serve as team captains. ... It’s a win-win situation for all involved. The March of Dimes’ mission touches virtually everyone, including companies in our community. Whether you’re a parent or future parents or grandparents, even if [you have] nieces and nephews, babies are a common denominator to us all.”
To participate in or donate to March for Babies, visit www.marchforbabies.org or contact Hallie Anderson with the March of Dimes at 404-914-6532.