The March of Dimes: One Family’s Personal Journey

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Looking for a way to give back to the community this spring? The March of Dimes Walks in Greenville and Spartanburg will be in-person, socially distanced, drive thru events and are coming up soon in April. Find out about what this organization does and how you can help!

Originally published in 2016, this piece has been updated with information about the 2021 March of Dimes Walk in Greenville. This year’s events will be on April 30, 2021 in Greenville and on April 16, 2021 in Spartanburg.

Before March 20, 2014, I didn’t know much about the March of Dimes or their mission, and I certainly had never considered their influence in my life.  But that all changed when my identical twins were born at just 25 weeks 4 days gestation.  In the almost five months we spent in the Neonatal ICU (NICU), I learned the very personal impact the March of Dimes has had on every mother and baby born since 1944.

The March of Dimes

The history of the March of Dimes

The March of Dimes was founded in 1944 as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis by President Franklin Roosevelt, influenced by his own personal struggle with polio.  The foundation funded research for vaccines that effectively ended the polio epidemic in the United States.  With its original mission accomplished, the foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality.  This is still the focus of the March of Dimes today.  The funds raised through the March for Babies events throughout the U.S. fund critical research that is dramatically increasing the survival rate of babies.  The March of Dimes has launched five Prematurity Research Centers in the U.S., integrating scientists from individual disciplines to form innovative collaborations that can accelerate research discoveries.

My family’s personal relationship with the March of Dimes

Just 16 weeks into my pregnancy, I was referred to a high risk obstetrician due to twin B’s smaller size.  I had ultrasounds twice weekly to monitor the growth, amniotic fluid, heart rate and other vitals of the twins.  I was referred to the hospital for monitoring at 25 weeks 4 days, and within 3 hours of admission, my twins were born due to absent cord blood flow and a disappearing heart rate in twin B.  Twin A, Mateo, weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces.  Twin B, Marcos, weighed 1 pound, 6.6 ounces.

Due to premature birth, my twins had numerous medical concerns, including brain bleeds, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and chronic lung disease.  Their immature lungs caused them to struggle to breathe, and they were on a ventilator for the first two months of their lives. Surfactant is a protein the body produces that keeps small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. Their bodies were not producing an adequate amount, so they both received doses of surfactant while in the NICU.  Surfactant was available to us because of the research funded by the March of Dimes.

Then and Now

Mateo and Marcos are now two years old, and are happy, healthy boys thanks to the knowledge and technology available to health care professionals today, most of which would not be possible without the research funded by the March of Dimes.  We are so thankful for the work they do and blessed to be able to help them continue the research to end premature births.

Upstate March for Babies Events

We are excited to be walking in the Greenville County March for Babies this year on April 30th, 2021. We hope you will join us at the walk, and will get involved with the March of Dimes.  To sign up for March for Babies in your area, click here.

Greenville County
Friday, April 30, 2021 | In-person, drive-thru experience
First Baptist Greenville, 847 Cleveland St, Greenville

Spartanburg County
Friday, April 16, 2021 | In-person, drive-thru experience, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Duncan Park , 81 West Park Drive, Spartanburg

March for Babies

Learn more about The March of Dimes

Visit The March of Dimes website.
Learn about their research.

Has your family been personally impacted by The March of Dimes?

Meet Cathy Rodriguez
Cathy Rodriguez is a wife to Adan and mom of twins Marcos & Mateo. She’s originally from Texas, and has been in Greenville since 2011. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and works for Fluor as a Sr. Human Resources Manager.
About the Author

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Marianne Lamas
7 years ago

It was great to read your story and realize the impact of The March of Dimes on your sweet boys! You are doing an amazing job with them!

7 years ago

Awesome story! I have 28 and 34 weeker preemies and the March of Dimes was very helpful to us, as well.

7 years ago

If you were at Greenville Memorial around the 26th of march that year I probably saw you. I won’t be able to this year but I plan to start participating. March of Dimes means a ton to me.