March of Dimes at Inova Alexandria HospitalMarch of Dimes Celebrates Day of Gratitude at Inova Alexandria Hospital NICU

Alexandria, Virginia (November 22, 2013) — The local March of Dimes held a Day of Gratitude event at Inova Alexandria Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) . It was an opportunity for the March of Dimes staff, parents of preemies and volunteers to express thanks to the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals for all that they do each day as they care for these tiny babies and their families.

“It was a wonderful experience to join the March of Dimes to honor the dedicated staff at Alexandria’s NICU,” noted Sandy Lutton, NICU graduate parent.  “Our daughter, Gillian, born at 22 weeks, didn’t survive.  Then our son, one of our twins, spent several days in this NICU. It was meaningful to have the opportunity to share our story and express our thanks to those who made such an impact not only on our lives, but on the lives of so many other families like ours whose babies were born with health issues or born too soon.”  As one of the March of Dimes National Capital Area ambassador families, the Luttons  share their story, help raise awareness of premature birth and encourage residents and companies to participate in March for Babies.

Hospital staff was presented with a plaque to commemorate their efforts to support the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies. Photos can be viewed in the March of Dimes photo gallery on Facebook.

Although the nation’s preterm birth rate has dropped for the sixth consecutive year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely each year in the U.S.   These babies face an increased risk of serious medical complications and life-long disabilities. Some may not reach their first birthday. In addition to the physical and emotional effects, a preterm birth can cost 12 times more than an uncomplicated birth and costs the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion each year.

The March of Dimes helps moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. And, if something goes wrong, they offer information and comfort to families. They research the problems that threaten babies and work on preventing them. Since the organization was established in 1938, March of Dimes work has led to discoveries that shape today’s standards of a healthy pregnancy.

March of Dimes research helped link alcohol consumption in pregnancy to birth defects, and  their outreach programs are making women aware of the importance of consuming folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects. Advocates have helped pass new laws to expand state newborn screening programs that diagnose life-threatening newborn conditions in time for effective treatment.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month®, and a key time when the March of Dimes focuses everyone’s attention on the serious problem of premature birth. An estimated 15 million babies are born premature and of those more than a million die as a result of their early birth.

Also, on November 17, partners from around the world will mark the third World Prematurity Day in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. People can help raise awareness by going to facebook.com/WorldPrematurityDay and joining the virtual campaign to share stories, give hope and save lives.

Media Contact: Allison Kenty, 703-504-3840

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About the March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

This year, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to help all babies get a healthy start in life. More than four million babies were born in the United States last year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.

About Inova
Inova is a not-for-profit health care system located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, serving over two million people with over 1,700 licensed beds based in Northern Virginia. Inova consists of five hospitals including the area’s only Level 1 Trauma Center and Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care unit. Inova encompasses many health services including the nationally and internationally recognized Inova Heart and Vascular Institute (IHVI), Inova Translational Medicine Institute (ITMI) on genomics, Inova Neuroscience Institute and Inova Children’s Hospital. Inova’s mission is to improve the health of the diverse community it serves through excellence in patient care, education and research. More information and statistics about Inova is at www.inova.org.