UF students hold their March for Babies on Sunday

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 7:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 7:17 p.m.

University of Florida student Rebecca Momberg knows firsthand how common premature births are.

After all, she weighed one pound at birth.

“I was getting out of the neonatal intensive care unit when I should have been born,” Momberg said.

Thus, Momberg is personally motivated to offer support for the March of Dimes, which has as its mission to help babies have a healthy start in life.

As overall director of recruitment for the March of Dimes Collegiate Council at UF, Momberg and others are hard at work this week preparing for Sunday’s ninth annual Gators March for Babies 5K run/walk. The 5K walk kicks off at 1 p.m.

“March of Dimes started out to fund a cure for polio under FDR in 1937,” Momberg said. “In the 1950s, they found a cure for polio and since then the focus shifted towards prematurity.”

The Collegiate Council at UF holds fundraisers like Sunday’s event to get college students involved with various March of Dimes initiatives, Momberg said.

On Sunday, Gators March for Babies will start on Turlington Plaza and participants will circle around campus.

The kickoff event attracted a large crowd to the Plaza of the Americas. Volunteers handed out fliers and spoke to passing UF students and faculty about the importance of the organization.

Laurie Glyack, a health science major who aspires to become a pediatrician, said the March of Dimes is a great educational opportunity for students.

A big attention grabber was the pinwheel display on the plaza in which each pinwheel stood for a baby who was born premature in the state of Florida and who did not make it to their first birthday.

“I think it’s a visual representation of what we stand for,” said Kristina Johnson, a UF junior and past participant in Gators March for Babies.

As a freshman, Johnson brought her brother, whose premature birth inspired her to get involved with March of Dimes, and her mother to participate in the Gators March for Babies.

“March of Dimes impacts everyone. We are all going to grow up and have families,” Johnson said. “If people donated more to March of Dimes, then there would be less pinwheels.”

Last year, Gators March for Babies raised $80,000, Momberg said. “Our goal is to raise $100,000 this year. It’s going to get bigger and better every year,” she said.

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