Wiping away her tears while gripping the microphone tightly, Yailin Alfonso shared her family’s story on stage this past weekend. Her daughter, she said, was born at 19 weeks and weighed one pound.
“I remember feeling so powerless, seeing her through the side panels of her incubator, tied to three different machines,” she recalled. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Coincidentally, the next day Alfonso learned of a March of Dimes program, “March for Babies,” which aims to improve the health of infants by raising money to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. She got the help she needed, and her daughter is now four years old and a survivor of premature birth.
Alfonso was one of over a thousand people who attended the March for Babies event at Tamiami Park on Saturday, many of whom shared their stories and paid tribute to March Of Dimes.
The organization has offices in every state in the United States, and almost all hold a March for Babies. The U.S. is among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth, especially for women and babies of color. In Miami, the march has been held for over 50 years, and for this year, Miami-Dade County has raised $164,463 out of a $150,000 goal. Among the attendees was Javier Romero, one of the most well-known voices in Spanish radio and who has been covering and participating in this event for the last 30 years.
“It just so happens that my three kids were all preemies, so I’m thankful for March of Dimes, each and every day of my life,” stated Romero. “They are healthy and fine now, thanks to the research funded by this organization.”
The event, which began at 7:00 a.m. with cartons of coffee and donuts from Dunkin’, was followed by a mile walk. Throughout the event, there were activities, games, food and conversations which ignited laughter, hope, tears, and a sense of unity.
The walk, which consisted of one mile, finished around 8:30 a.m. Various activities such as the “Family Cup Challenge” were set up at the event and began after the walk had been completed. Lunch had been served around 12:30 p.m., bringing the March For Babies to an end at 2:00 p.m.
Stories such as Alfonso’s and Romero’s are among the many told this past weekend and around the country that describe the importance of the March Of Dimes organization and its benefits to society.
“You know, there are a lot of successful stories here. While there are many reasons for being a part of March For Babies, it brings together families who are affected as well as those who care about preterm birth, birth defects and newborn illness,” stated Romero.