Friday, April 23, 2010

March of Dimes Walk for Babies

Looking at me using physics to life up a car at COSI, you'd never know I was born with a congenital birth defect. My right kidney had two upper poles, rather than one, and a blocked ureter.

In my case the doctor used dye to follow the path of blood and urine through my system. Because the blocked ureter only occurred in one kidney, renal function (kidney function) appeared to be normal. This was not the case and as a result the kidney deteriorated over time and had to be removed via nephrectomy (kidney removal). Because of organizations such as the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation better science exists today for identifying issues in premature babies, newborns, and infants.

As a teenager I babysat a young girl who had the exact same birth defect as I experienced. Her mother had us compare scars and this little girl’s scar was half the size of mine. Instead of an incision that extended from my front to my back , hers was only 3 inches long. She also had half of her kidney on which the doctor performed the nephrectomy. I was overjoyed to learn that medical science had developed enough for this little girl to have an even better outcome than my successful surgery.

March for Babies, formerly WalkAmerica, funds programs, advocacy and research to prevent premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality. Each year the American government spends billions of dollars on research for diseases and disorders. It is imperative that research continue for children and infants specifically, because their bodies metabolize drugs differently. Medical professionals cannot make dosing decisions based on weight alone. Infants deserve definitive solutions to their health issues.

The March of Dimes first mission was to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio by its common name) in America. The polio epidemic reached its height in the mid 20th Century and affected not only infants, but also adolescents. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for polio, which was subsequently tested in a clinical trial (one of the largest in history) sponsored by the March of Dimes. The trials were a success and as of 1991 polio has been eradicated in the western hemisphere.
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation continues to educate people and fund and advocate for research to improve the health of premature babies and infants. We can contribute by participating in the Walk for Babies this Saturday, April 25th 2010.

If you live in the DC area, join the anticipated thousands of participants this weekend in the March of Dimes March for Babies. The March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation is holding its annual March for Babies.

The event begins at the Washington Monument grounds at 15th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW. Registration begins at 8:00 am and the walk begins at 9:00am. Washingtonians will come together for four miles to support research that improves the health of one of society’s most defenseless group.

There are other opportunities to donate to the cause. Famous Footwear has a coupon for the official shoe of the Walk for Babies. You can form a team, join a team, or donate directly to the organization via their website.

Jessica Stutzman has a Bachelor of Arts in Security and Intelligence from The Ohio State University and is an administrative assistant at Research!America. She has previously contributed to New Voices on women's issues.

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