COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - On Saturday, May 14 the Georgia March of Dimes hosted their annual March For Babies. Each year 15 million babies around the world are born prematurely, and of those 1 million don't make it to see their first birthday.
Over 400 walkers made their way to Cooper Creak Park to March for the Babies. March of Dimes raised approximately 200 thousand dollars at their Muscogee March.
Tajana Calhoon, the Executive Director of March of Dimes and today's organizer explained why everyone's dedication during these fundraisers, allows March of Dimes to help families around the world.
"The March of Dimes is committed to giving every baby a fighting chance. So we want to make sure all babies are born healthy and that affects everyone," Calhoon said.
Of the more than 400 people in attendance, some had no connection to premature baby births, others had a very personal connection with this cause. Both the Pugh and Mayo families had babies born prematurely.
Parker Divine Pugh was born at 29 weeks, his family has gathered each year since 2012 at the March for Babies and dawns the team name "Divine 29".
"It was very scary but at the same time it was inspiring to see them that small and that strong and have that much fight in em'. So its a lot of different emotions. Its a journey but we are really blessed that things turned out. We appreciate all that they do and that is why we are trying our best to give back and do as much as we can," said Parker's mom, Starlette Pugh.
The Mayo family attended their first March of Dimes event this year following the birth of the baby girl Catrise born at only 23 weeks at one pound and one ounce.
"All the things that we went through being in the NICU for 117 days, there was a lot of stress but it was well worth it our miracle baby is here," said Catrise's Father, Toby Mayo.
Her mother, Connie Mayo, said of the attendance at today's walk, "It is very important, and it means a lot to me, the donations and everything that they do to support and give that research aloud my baby to live and survive."
While the Mayo and Pugh families are celebrating the life of their children others are honoring theirs.
"Personally I know how important funds are to make sure that all babies thrive and survive. I am the mother of twin sons who were born prematurely so i walk in honor and in memory of them," said Keisha Wells.
Every since the loss of her sons Ms. Wells has made it appoint to ensure that no other families suffer as hers did.