Thousands Show Up In Forest Park To March For Babies

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FOREST PARK (KPLR)-The 2012 March of Dimes: March for Babies was held Saturday morning in Forest Park. Money raised at the event supports March of Dimes programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies and work to prevent premature birth and birth defects.

FOX2‘s Margie Ellisor led the marchers through Forest Park. Margie said she knows she is blessed with three healthy kids.

"I think when you have healthy children,” she explained.  “It really changes your view when you see those who are struggling."

So she woke early Saturday morning and rallied families as they marched.

"They never give up on them.  You have wedding rings just hanging on their little feet, but they're fighters and their parents are too,” Ellisor pointed out.  “They have places like the March of Dimes that are going to help them.  They're going to be there for them."

Bryan Knapp found that out after his wife, Ashley, went into premature labor with their twins Ellie and Carly.

"We didn't have enough time to think about it,” Mr. Knapp remembered.  “It happened, probably, within an hour."

"She and her twin sister Carly were 26 weeks,” Mrs. Knapp explained.  “They were 14 weeks early.  She also had a heart defect.  So, she spent about 8 months in the hospital."

Ellie was at the march.  Carly did not survive.  The Knapps said they had to walk anyway.

"One of ours did and one of ours didn't,” Mrs. Knapp said.  “We want to make sure that there's enough money out there to keep the others alive."

Pediatric nurse Jamie McDermott sees these battles, firsthand and every day.

"To see people have to go through that with their own kids,” McDermott explained.  “Knowing that they're not going to have that healthy child like what they expected is devastating."

Ten thousand people packed the Upper Muny Parking Lot, because they say the March of Dimes doesn't just work miracles for little ones but for the big people too.

Shaughnessy Williams marched for her big girl Gina, who was born weighing only 3 pounds.  The March-for-Babies vet had a message for parents in the middle of a terrifying start to their little ones' lives.

"Basically, just show as much love,” the mother said.  “Keep your family support around, and know that it's going to be okay because they're here."

March For Babies began in 1970. More than $2 billion has been raised over those years.

Website: March Of Dimes Missouri