The March of Dimes is known as the leading non-profit organization for pregnancy and baby health. Its mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. About one in eight babies in the US is born premature. No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to find the cause of premature birth.
Mark and Marissa DeHaven are parents of two-year old triplets: Maya, Max and Marina. They were born eight weeks early and spent five weeks in the NICU at Shands at UF. March of Dimes provides onsite comfort and information to families in the NICU. When asked to join Florida Virtual School in the March of Dimes-March for Babies, Mark and Marissa didn’t hesitate. This was a way for them to give back to March of Dimes for all the support they gave them. Maya, Max and Marina became Team Florida Virtual School’s ambassadors for the March for Babies held in Gainesville in March.
Marissa contacted Cedar Key School’s middle school math teacher and Jr. Beta Sponsor, Kim Bishop, and asked if they would be willing to raise money for the March of Dimes as a community service project. The Jr./Sr. Beta team teamed up and raised $500.42. Students were asked to bring in change to donate to the March of Dimes. The class raising the most money would earn an ice cream party. The sixth grade was the winner, raising $153. The seventh grade was very close to winning, raising just $10 less.
March of Dimes recognized how hard Cedar Key School students worked. A plaque was awarded to Cedar Key School on Tuesday, June 5, at the Middle School awards ceremony. Marissa DeHaven was there to present the plaque on behalf of Florida Virtual School and March of Dimes.
In addition to the money raised by Cedar Key School, buckets were put out in stores and restaurants in town. As a community, Cedar Key raised just over $616.
Early on, doctors wouldn’t treat early preemies because they couldn’t keep them alive. March of Dimes played a leading role in developing surfactant therapy for premature babies. Through this and research, doctors learned that they could be successful in keeping preemies alive. They have had a great success rate, but since the 1980s, they’ve plateaued and haven’t been able to do much more. When a baby is born early, the lungs, brain and intestines are still not developed. Surfactant helps the lungs continue to develop, but there’s not much doctors can do for the brain and intestinal issues. The best way to prevent these issues is by keeping mothers pregnant for longer. That’s what the March of Dimes is trying to do.