Health News

March for Babies is May 4


Sponsors and supporters of the March for Babies for the March of Dimes met to kick off this year’s event. The March for Babies will be held on Saturday, May 4, at the National Training Center, 1935 Don Wickam Drive, in the Track & Field Complex in Clermont.

Many people don’t realize the March of Dimes was the first group to do research about why babies were born prematurely. Inspirational speakers like Jennifer Medina, an assistant store manager for Publix, told stories of their personal connection with MOD.

“My brother had triplets. One was born with a cleft pallate, and one weighed a little over a pound,” Jennifer says. She added that the March of Dimes was with the family from the beginning.


Brittany Hansen and her son Hyatt were on hand to tell their compelling story. Mid way into her pregnancy, Brittany began having complex migraine headaches and at 20 weeks, she had to take shots to stop pre-term labor. However, Hyatt was in a hurry and was born March 3, 2010, six weeks early.

He was fed through an IV at first and then with a syringe every 30 minutes. He had to have the UV lights and, fortunately, was able to go home after eight days, even though he was still being fed with a syringe.

However, Hyatt stood beside his mother, a strong, healthy eight-year-old boy who has been off all medications for two years now.

“Lake-Sumter March of Dimes goes above and beyond,” Brittany says. “That’s why everybody needs to be at the March for Babies on May 4.”

Buddy Raney, of Raney Construction, is chair of the event this year. “It’s an incredible event because of the exceptional leadership of the people,” he says.

Corporate sponsors include Kmart, Famous Footwear, Hospital Corporation of America, and Cigna with Publix as the regional sponsor.

The goal for Lake and Sumter walkers this year is $220,000 to the March of Dimes carry outs their goals to hope, remember, and celebrate.

The top teams in Lake and Sumter counties in 2018 were: Publix, ERA Grizzard Realty, Lake County Clerk of Court, South Lake Hospital, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Lake-Sumter State College, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Prestige Ford, and Team John David.

What can you do to help the March for Babies? Take these four simple steps:

Organize: Register your team at; customize your team page; and contact the local MOD office for support.

Recruit: Tell friends and family about the march; ask fundraisers to sign up for your team at; use social media to spread the word about your team and MFB; invite loved ones to walk with you.

Fundraise: Set goals for yourself and your team; use the MOD online tools to ask for donations; create dynamic badgets for your site and emails to boost fundraising.

Celebrate: Walk with more than a million other March for Babies supporters across the country; share your team’s success; thank everyone who helped and let them know how much you raised.

The 2019 March for Babies is at the National Training Center, Field & Track Complex, 1935 Wickam Drive, Clermont. Registration is at 7am and the walk begins at 8am.

About the author'

Leigh Neely

Leigh Neely began her writing career with a weekly newspaper in the Florida panhandle, where she not only did the writing but delivered the papers to the post office and dispensers. She has been writing ever since for a variety of newspapers and magazines from New Jersey to Leesburg. With her writing partner, Jan Powell, Leigh has published two novels as Neely Powell.

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