Upstate News

March 13, 2008
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Dr. David Smith to lead March of Dimes’ March for Babies fundraiser set for April 27

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — David R. Smith, M.D., president of SUNY Upstate Medical University, will serve as chair for the April 27 March for Babies in Syracuse, the March of Dimes’ premier fundraising event that benefits babies who are born healthy as well as those who need help to survive and thrive.

“I’m proud to be part of a national movement to ensure that every baby has a healthy start in life,” Smith said Smith, who is trained as a pediatrician.

“Everyone can be a champion for baby health by signing up for March for Babies.”

Smith has been a volunteer with the March of Dimes for nearly fifteen years and a National Trustee since 2004. He has lent his leadership for numerous March of Dimes’ campaigns across the country, including the Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait campaign in Kentucky that encourages women to help prevent preterm births by quitting smoking, having appropriate prenatal weight gain and by receiving high quality prenatal care.

“The involvement of high profile local leaders across the nation is a key element in our goal of helping more babies come into the world healthy,” said Tucker Lounsbury, chair of the March of Dimes Central New York Division Board. “We are fortunate to have someone so committed to our cause.”

Premature birth touches over half a million babies and their families every year, including more than 30,000 in New York state. This translates to 644 babies born preterm each year in Onondaga County alone. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. More than 120,000 babies are born with serious birth defects that can mean a lifetime of disability. Babies born healthy need champions, too, to be sure they have access to newborn screening and preventive health care.

In Syracuse, March for Babies will take place Sunday, April 27 at 10 a.m. at Onondaga Lake Park, Long Branch Picnic Area, with registration at 9 a.m..

“It’s easy to join me,” said Dr. Smith. “Just visit marchforbabies.org or call toll-free 1-800-244-9255 to sign up as an individual, start a corporate, family or friend’s team, or donate to help babies be born healthy.”

Funds raised by March for Babies in Central New York support research at SUNY Upstate Medical University as well as Syracuse and Cornell universities. For every dollar raised in the Central New York Division, nearly two dollars or $826,000 returns in the form of grants such as these.

In 2008, national March for Babies sponsors are CIGNA, Continental Airlines, Famous Footwear, Farmers, FedEx, Grain Foods Foundation, Liberty Tax Services, nesting.com, and Kmart, the March of Dimes number one corporate partner which has raised more than $63 million for babies. Additional national sponsorship is provided by Discovery Health, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Outdoor Services and Ther-Rx.

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