According to the March of Dimes, the most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today is premature birth affecting more than half a million babies each year, with the number growing every day. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the answers to premature birth and providing comfort and information to families who are affected.
Marietta resident Amy Davies knows first hand the work of March of Dimes and her appreciation is two-fold. When Davies was a child, her mother, Barbara Jean Rittman, contracted polio, a disabling and sometimes fatal infection. She was treated and lived with no visible signs of any illness. Due to the Salk and Sabine vaccines, both developed with March of Dimes funding, polio has been eliminated.
Pregnant with twins, Davies hemorrhaged at 28 weeks. She contacted her mother, who called 911. I actually passed out from blood loss,” Davies said. “(My mother) was able to save my life and the life of my twins because (March of Dimes) saved her.”
Davies’ twins (now 2½ years old) spent more than 50 days in neonatal intensive care at Kennestone Hospital where they received many treatments March of Dimes helped discover. These treatments included surfactant therapy in connection with brain hemorrhage and treatment to prevent permanent retina damage.
“My children are normal with no permanent issues as a result of the premature birth and that is only because of what the March of Dimes did,” she said. “March of Dimes is important because of the extraordinary things they do to help children.”
Davies said that every mother benefits from March of Dimes research, citing as an example the discovery that folic acid is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. “It’s not just mothers who have premature births that benefit.”
“It’s because of (March of Dimes) my children are alive today. It’s because of them my mother is alive today,” she said.
“The Signature Chefs event is going to be one of those events that you can have fun and feel good about what you’re doing. There’s no greater evening out than to enjoy yourself and knowing you’re doing something good for others,” Davies said.