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Marching to New Goals

by Melissa Brunner

Many not-for-profit organizations say it would be great if they could one day accomplish their mission and put themselves out of business, whether it's achieving the goal of everyone having enough to eat or finding a cure for a particular disease.

On this day wich would have marked Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 131st birthday, the March of Dimes reminds us that, at one point, they did work themselves out of business. Pres. Roosevelt helped found what was then known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Its goal was to eradicate polio, a condition which left the President himself paralyzed. With FDR championing their efforts, the goal was met.

The March of Dimes lives on, though. Instead of focusing on one particular disease, it developed a new mission to improve the health of all babies. The March of Dimes believes all babies deserve the healthiest possible start in life. To that end, their work includes educating moms-to-be about healthy habits that ensure the greatest odds they'll carry their babies to term. The latest of those efforts is the "39 Weeks" campaign, educating moms that research shows babies carried to 39 weeks show the best development and a lesser risk of death or complications. But even despite moms' best efforts, sometimes babies are born too soon, so the March of Dimes also funds research into treatments for when it happens.

In honor of FDR's 131st birthday and the March of Dimes 75th anniversary, let me be the first to invite you to join their mission at this year's March for Babies! The Topeka walk is moved to a Saturday this year - May 4th - and it's moved from the zoo to the Statehouse grounds. It's not too soon to form your team and start fundraising - just visit www.marchforbabies.org.

Wouldn't it be great if, one day, all babies were born healthy and the March of Dimes could embark on yet another mission?

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