Race just small part of fundraising

March of Dimes to hold March for Babies April 28

Holts Summit runner Chris Crull maintains a speedy pace along Airport Road in north Jefferson City as he approaches the finish line ahead of the rest of the field during Saturday’s second annual Be A Hero 5K Run/ Walk to benefit the March of Dimes’ March for Babies program.

Holts Summit runner Chris Crull maintains a speedy pace along Airport Road in north Jefferson City as he approaches the finish line ahead of the rest of the field during Saturday’s second annual Be A Hero 5K Run/ Walk to benefit the March of Dimes’ March for Babies program. Photo by Kris Wilson.

March of Dimes’ March For Babies is slated for April 28 in Jefferson City, and local teams have taken it upon themselves to take their fundraising to the next level.

Katie McIlwain is team captain for her “Be a Hero” team and she hosted a 5K race Saturday at Memorial Airport to raise funds for the team to support the March of Dimes organization. She held a similar race last year.

This year’s race brought more than 100 participants. McIlwain said her team’s goal is to raise $5,000. Last year, it contributed $3,000 to March for Babies.

“I want everybody who runs this 5K to also come walk at March for Babies,” McIlwain said. “We’ve also been trying to think of other things to raise more money. We held a chili cook-off at Naught-Naught Agency last month.”

McIlwain’s team is fundraising in support of Ambassador Child Eliza Goetz, daughter of Darice and Justin Goetz. Eliza, now six months, was born eight weeks premature and stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for nearly four weeks.

March of Dimes and its largest fundraising event, March for Babies, raise funds for research, education, advocacy and services involving babies and premature births.

“A majority of our funds do go to research,” said Christy Carel, director of the March of Dimes’ Central Missouri Division. “The goal of the March of Dimes is to reduce infant mortality and premature births, as well as birth defects.”

Last year, Jefferson City’s March for Babies event raised nearly $132,000 and Carel said this year’s goal is $140,000.

Teams and individuals can sign up online at marchforbabiesmo.org and then begin fundraising.

The April 28 event at 1:30 p.m. at Memorial Park includes a walk/run, as well as family-friendly activities, such as face painting, a bean bag toss and a bounce house.

All March for Babies participants have reasons for why they walk. Some have been affected by March of Dimes directly and some have not.

“I don’t have a specific story as to why I do this,” McIlwain said. “I got involved with my previous job and kept doing it.

“I love babies, and I love kids.”

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