Celebrating 20 Years of Support for the March of Dimes

Hundreds of walkers take part in the March of Dimes March for Babies at Temple University Ambler each year.

For decades, Temple University Ambler has been known as a location for the surrounding community and beyond to gather, whether it was for concerts great and small, environmental action and education or coming together for a common cause.

Organizations from the ALS Hope Foundation to the American Lung Association to Kisses for Kyle, the Sunshine Foundation and many others have made the campus a location where the community shows its hearts.

One of the largest charitable endeavors held on campus is the March of Dimes March for Babies. For 20 consecutive years, Temple University Ambler has served as the Eastern Montgomery County March of Dimes March for Babies host. 

Ambler Campus March of Dimes Committee member and campus team captain Michelle Morales has been an integral part for 13 of those years.

“I have a personal connection with the March of Dimes and their mission. My son Jeffrey was born premature,” she said. “Not being able to hold him right away, having to rush him to the NICI (neonatal intensive care unit) because he wasn’t breathing on his own, that was excruciating. We were fortunate in that we were able to take him home when I left the hospital; many families aren’t so lucky. For some families, the hospital is their lives for months or even longer.”

Premature birth is the number one obstetric problem in the United States. To help reduce the staggering number of premature births, hundreds of heroes will be lacing up their walking shoes for the Eastern Montgomery County March of Dimes March for Babies 2018 on Sunday, April 29. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the walk following from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The walk begins in Bright Hall Circle.

To help celebrate Temple Ambler’s 20th year at a March of Dimes walk site, Morales will host a March of Dimes March for Babies Kick-Off event on Wednesday, February 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Learning Center Lobby.

The kick-off will highlight the March of Dimes’ ongoing campaign to raise public awareness, reduce the rates of pre-term birth, and increase research to find the cause of prematurity. In addition to free snacks and March of Dimes giveaways, the kick-off will provide students, faculty and staff the opportunity to register for the walk or sign up as a volunteer on walk day. Members and friends of the Temple community may also join Temple Ambler’s team online!

“As a host site, our goal this year is to once again have a large Temple presence. When you think about the various charitable causes that use Temple Ambler as a gathering place, you realize that it’s a great way to show our students, faculty, alumni and staff that we also support them and care about what they might be going through,” Morales  said. “There are few people that can say prematurity or cancer or ALS hasn’t affected their family or someone they know. These are great opportunities to give back.”

According to Morales volunteers are needed to help check walkers in, guild participants to designated locations for their teams, provide assistance in the food tent, and more. Individuals who would like to volunteer should e-mail michelle.morales@temple.edu.

The March of Dimes March for Babies at Temple Ambler has raised millions of dollars over the last two decades. In 2017 alone about 1,500 heroes from 128 teams raised an astounding $320,000 at the Ambler Campus! According to March of Dimes March for Babies site coordinator Deirdre Tripodi, the walk at the Ambler Campus has proven extremely successful in its effort to raise funds for the March of Dimes’ important research.

“We get a tremendous amount of support from Temple Ambler, which makes each year a great day for a walk!” she said. “The energy of the crowd is amazing. Everyone is there for one reason, to walk for stronger, healthier babies.”

March for Babies is the March of Dimes’ largest yearly fundraiser. Ambler Campus site walkers come from more than 100 companies, organizations, schools, and families in the Ambler area.

Money raised during the walk, Tripodi said, often stays right in this area.

“With so many teaching hospitals in the region, such as Abington and Thomas Jefferson, March of Dimes is able to help communities come together for our mission,” she said.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs for research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies. For more information on the March of Dimes, visit the organization’s website at www.modimes.org.