Support Prematurity Awareness Month
November 15, 2016
By Deb Allen, GFWC Juniors’ Special Program: Advocates for Children Chairman
Let’s turn the world purple and reach out to families touched by premature births while celebrating the lives of children everywhere. November 17 is World Prematurity Day, but you can mark Prematurity Awareness Month throughout the rest of November.
March of Dimes provides GFWC clubwomen with many ideas and opportunities to support families whose lives have been touched by birth defects and premature births.
Know the Facts:
- According to marchofdimes.org, a premature baby is one born too early, before 37 weeks.
- Birth spacing of less than 18 months is a risk factor for preterm birth.
- In 2010, Somalia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Cuba had better estimated national rates of preterm births than the United States (Ranked 54th).
- In 2015, the U.S. preterm birth rate increased in the U.S. for the first time in eight years. The United States currently has a preterm birth rate of 9.6. March of Dimes has set its goal to reach 8.1 percent by the year 2020 and 5.5 percent by 2030. (Check your state’s report card: http://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/prematurity-reportcard.aspx)
- In 2015, March of Dimes announced the establishment of its 5th Prematurity Research Center. One center is developing a pacemaker to control contractions of the uterus.
What can you do?
- Paint your town purple: Light your clubhouse, place of business, or home purple to bring attention to Prematurity Awareness Month. Wear purple to show your support for families whose babies are in the fight of their life.
- Send words of encouragement: Go to http://www.marchofdimes.org/give-them-tomorrow.aspx to send your message of hope. March of Dimes will deliver your card to a family whose baby is in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) letting them know they are not in this fight alone.
- Become a March of Dimes Advocate: Visit http://actioncenter.marchofdimes.org to sign up to become a March of Dimes Advocate, similar to our GFWC Legislative Action Center. March of Dimes is currently asking for help to encourage states to increase funding for smoking prevention programs.
- Spread the word through Social Media: Go to http://twibbon.com/Support/world-prematurity-day-9 to change your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to show your support for March of Dimes.
- Celebrate the babies in your life: Post your baby’s first moments using the hashtags #babysfirst and #givethemtomorrow to celebrate milestones and give hope to others. Feel free to include a picture even if your baby is grown! Show off those firsts no matter how long ago they happened.
- Dust off your walking shoes: Start planning your events and forming your teams for the upcoming March for Babies. Visit marchforbabies.org for information and tools. Be sure to let others know that you are raising funds to help babies by including your March of Dimes fundraising badge in your email signature, website, or blog.
Take pictures of your members promoting Prematurity Awareness Month. Share those with Deb Allen, Juniors’ Special Program: Advocates for Children Chairman by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d love to share your purple with March of Dimes and their families!
Melanie Carriker Stevens
Melanie Carriker Stevens understands GFWC tradition and legacy. Daughter of GFWC Communications and PR Chairman Wendy Carriker, Melanie was inspired to form the GFWC Legacy Woman's Club, which celebrates the dedication of grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, and cousins. The GFWC Legacy Club received its charter at the 2015 GFWC Annual Convention in Memphis.
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