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Walk supports research to end premature birth

Ashley Collins and Tina Prince both gave birth to premature babies. Now their involved in some of the top teams raising money for the March of Dimes' March for Babies next month.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Every year, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes. And those early births put those tiny babies into a scary category. The top killer of newborn babies is premature birth.

Ashley Collins and Tina Prince are among the lucky ones. Both gave birth to premature babies - each weighing just 2 pounds, 3 ounces. And both now have happy, healthy daughters. Prince's daughter is 9. Collins' daughter will turn one in just a few days.

These two moms are each leading two of the most successful local teams that are part of the Triangle-area March for Babies, the March of Dimes' annual fundraising walk. Since 1970, the walk, with events across the United States, has raised $2 billion to support programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies.
The Triangle walk is set for 10 a.m. April 30 at Imperial Park, 4309 Emperor Blvd., Durham. Other walks are scheduled April 9 at the Tanger Outlets in Mebane and April 16 at Methodist University in Fayetteville. Click here for details.

Prince and Collins spoke with me the other week about their efforts to raise money for the walk.

Prince, who works for the State Employees Credit Union, had been involved in the March of Dimes before her daughter was born. Her daughter's premature birth sparked even more involvement.

Prince has been a part of the credit union's team for years and leads its 65 team captains at locations across the Triangle. The teams each raise money through a variety of efforts from bowling tournaments and bake sales to Easter basket raffles and T-shirts for those who donate.

Most years, the credit union's team is the top company team. And, Prince tells me, "we like to keep the tradition."

This is the first year for Collins, who, a year ago, probably couldn't have imagined that she'd so directly need the services of the March of Dimes.

Nearly a year after her daughter was born, Collins still remembers the March of Dimes family support worker who spent time with her while she was in the hospital. She gave Collins a comfort pack with a journal, a chart converting grams to pounds and other items she'd find essential as little Bea grew stronger in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Collins has written about the birth and her daughter's first year on her blog The Raleigh Collins. Last November, she also shared her story here on Go Ask Mom.
In January, the Collins started their own March for Babies family team called The Bea Team. And through a series of great and ongoing contests on the family's blog, they've already raised more than $1,200. People who donate to The Bea Team through the March for Babies website are entered to win prizes from local and national businesses, which have included Stroller Strides, Jimmy Johns, Bye Bye Baby and much more. Click here for details.
"Without March of Dimes, Beatrice Kate may not be the baby she is today. She may not be here at all," Collins wrote on her blog. "That's why we feel so strongly about giving back to this organization. We owe them much more than we could ever raise through fund-raising; but we're going to try anyway!"
Learn more from Collins and Prince about the walk and their involvement in the video. And check the March for Babies website to get involved. As Collins and Prince say, they don't care how people get involved in the walk, they just hope people will support this worthy cause.

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