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Walkers Wanted to Help Reduce the Number of Premature Births

Annual March for Babies to raise money for research and education.

MaurQuise Secka wants to become a Navy pilot. The 24-year-old has dreams of living life to its fullest. He’s dreaming about the rest of his life.

But Secka’s almost never got the chance to dream. He was born nearly three months premature. He weighed less than two pounds. His twin brother MaurQuise did not survive.

Secka’s mother Hannah will speak at the March for Babies to be held Sunday, April 29 at . Proceeds donated from the event will help fund research to prevent premature births like MaurQuise’s from happening. The event is main fundraiser for the March of Dimes international charity.

“We believe that every baby deserves a healthy start at life,” said Gina Ihne, community director of the event. “When you are talking about the smallest of people, you want to make sure that they are born healthy.”

Hannah said it was difficult at first seeing her tiny son in an incubator. Then something happened.

“He grabbed my finger and it changed my life,” Hannah said. “Everyday I made sure I was there with him and everyday he got stronger and stronger.”

Hannah hopes others are touched by her story. She wants others to know that they’re not alone.

“When you’re going through something like I went though, you think you’re the only one in the world that knows what it feels like,” Hannah said. “But if you go to one of these walks and you’ll see that you’re not alone.”

Ihne agreed.

“There is strength in numbers,” she said. “People who come see hundreds of people who have either been there or know someone who has been. Together we’re trying to make a day happen where no parent has to go through what Hannah went through.”

Ihne regularly speaks to high school students about premature births.

“The students are shocked when I tell them that the average premature baby’s foot is the size of a paper clip or that you can fit a ring around one of their arms or legs,” Ihne said.

Educating others is a necessary component in the fight to prevent premature births. Through research, discoveries are made that decrease the risk of premature birth occurring. Taking at least 400 milligrams of folic acid everyday can have a significant impact on a developing baby as it aids in cell division and growth.

“That was discovered because of research that was funded by money raised through the March for Babies,” Ihne said.

The event will begin at approximately 9 a.m. at Wayne Hills; registration stars at 8 a.m.. Participants will walk three-and-a-half miles onto Valley Road Extension, onto Barbour Pond Road, and then back to the school. Hundreds of people .

For more information, call Ihne at 973-296-8811 or visit the March for Babies Web site.

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