Over $600,000 Raised for March of Dimes at March for Babies

Thousands of people marched at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Sunday to raise money for little fighters in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the state as part of the March of Dimes' annual March for Babies.

NBC Connecticut's Heidi Voight emceed the event and Snow Monster was there, too.

"There they go, cheer them on, they're superheroes," Voight said.

Superheroes since birth, though they may be small, they've conquered big challenges as NICU graduates.

"This is the day that I prayed for in the 45 days that we were in the NICU at UConn Health and now we're all here as a family, with all of you" Voight said.

Voight's daughters Polly and Violet were preemies, just like little Levi.

"We're just happy to be able to give back now and try to help other families that were in similar situations that we were in," Hartford March for Babies Ambassador Stefanie Gaidos said.

Levi's mom, Stefanie, was 30 weeks pregnant when she got very sick. Doctors told her she had to deliver Levi early to save her own life. She ended up in the Intensive Care Unit and Levi spent nearly 60 days in the NICU.

"But, we made it! And he's so happy right now!" Gaidos added.

Mission Mom and March of Dimes Senior Development Manager Amy Eldridge said stories like Levi's are what March of Dimes is all about.

"Today is about a celebration, but it also is about remembering those who have lost a baby," Eldridge said.

Marc Spencer from Avon lost his son, Evan, in 2005.

"After 85 days in the NICU, he ultimately passed, but we realized that wasn't the end," Spencer said.

He and his wife found support in the March of Dimes community.

This is Spencer's 13th year participating in the 5k Run for Babies.

"He would've been a 14-year-old now, but we still celebrate this as part of his birthday," Spencer added.

UConn Health's Dr. Chris Morosky works with families like Spencer's every day. He said he gets to see firsthand how the funds collected at March of Dimes events positively impact their experience.

"We appropriate funds through that to different projects across the state that are focused on preventing premature births and healthy pregnancies. We hope that every woman and every family can have a healthy pregnancy that goes to full term, have a healthy baby that comes home with them and grows up to be a healthy child," Dr. Morosky, the Board Chair of March of Dimes, said.

He hopes they grow up to be healthy like Tracy Scraba's kids.

"I have two identical twin boys who are going to be turning 7 in October, very high risk pregnancy but a very good outcome. It’s important to me that everyone have the same opportunity for a healthy outcome," Scraba, of Tolland said.

In total, the March of Dimes raised over $600,000 on Saturday.

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