The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 4, 2014

Walk draws 1,000 to raise $36G

DANVILLE — Approximately $36,000 was raised Sunday to support the birth of healthy babies, in what may have been “the biggest year yet” for the Susquehanna Valley March for Babies.

So far, the March for Babies has raised more this year than they did all of last year, according to event organizers.

The event started at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, in the parking lot of Geisinger Medical Center. About 1,000 people took part in the 2.5 mile walk around the town surrounding Geisinger, according to Kerri DiDario, community director for the March of Dimes.

The walkers raised funds prior to the March for Babies to give to the March of Dimes, which puts the donations toward research.

“Everybody is supporting the March of Dimes to give every baby a healthy start. That’s our mission,” DiDario said.

Funds continue to be raised before and after the March for Babies every year, with this year’s total so far at $106,000. That amount has already surpassed the yearly total from 2013, which was $105,000.

Last year at this time, $96,000 had been collected for March for Babies, with $33,000 coming from the march itself, DiDario said. The end year goal for the Susquehanna March for Babies for 2014 is $120,000.

Many of the people participating in Sunday’s walk had children who were treated in Geisinger’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “The majority of people (participating) have a connection to Geisinger,” DiDario said.

The walkers returned for food, including hot dogs, chips and cookies, as well as entertainment including live music, visits from local mascots and face painting for children.

“The turnout is very good … Thankfully the rain held off,” said Phoebe Beckley, Geisinger Medical Center’s March of Dimes NICU family support specialist. “I think its going to be our biggest year yet” in terms of donations, she said.

Among the walkers was Lissa Bryan-Smith, chief administrative officer of Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital.

“This is the first time our hospital’s participated in this walk,” she said. Bryan-Smith was joined by about 10 coworkers, with many other employees supporting their team with donations.

“We were happy to do it,” she said.

Also attending was the March of Dimes “ambassador family,” the Krebs family, of Coal Township. Kyleigh, the two-year-old daughter of Dan and Laurie Krebs, was born prematurely, along with her twin brother, Landon. He died about a day after being born due to severe bleeding within his brain, Dan and Laurie Krebs said.

Kyleigh couldn’t breath on her own and needed to be put on a special machine to keep her premature lungs filled with oxygen. She was in Geisinger Medical Center’s NICU for two months, being discharged New Year’s Day, 2012.

“It was a good way to start the new year,” her father said.

The team organized by the Krebs, dubbed “Kyleigh’s Krawlers,” raised more than $7,500 for the March of Dimes, well over their original goal of $5,000. “Probably 30 people were here to support us,” Laurie Krebs said.

“It’s a great event, a great cause. We want to keep doing it, keep raising more money each year,” Dan Krebs said.


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