Tiny babies, big problem

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Community should do more to support premature babies

By Stevie Lowery

The people of Marion County have big hearts.
I've witnessed that firsthand on many occasions.
It's just one of the reasons I'm proud to live and work here.
But, I have to get something off my chest that has been bothering me for the past several years.
I'm disappointed in Marion County's support, or lack thereof, of the March of Dimes.
Each year, the March of Dimes holds a fundraiser, March for Babies, and the money raised is used to fund research to help premature babies. This past Saturday, I attended this year's March for Babies event at Graham Memorial Park in Lebanon. I was saddened by the very small number of people who came out to support the cause. As I was taking photos of the small crowd that did show up, I couldn't help but think to myself that the March of Dimes/March for Babies has, for one reason or another, never received much support from this community. During the past 10 years, I've watched the small number of participants dwindle. And, each year it seems to get worse.  
I just don't get it. I really don't.
These babies who are born too soon need our help.
And, while they are small in size, the number of premature babies being born in this county, state and country is a big problem.
In fact, of the more than 1,000 babies who are born on an average week in Kentucky, more than 150 of them are born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes. That's roughly one premature birth every hour.
In the past decade, the rate of premature births in Kentucky has increased more than 24 percent, twice as fast as the national rate.
Those are scary statistics, folks.
I'll admit, I'm overly sensitive about the subject of premature babies right now. One of my best friends from high school had a premature baby in August, and seeing what she and her family are going through makes this issue very real for me.
Simply put, premature babies - and their families - need our help.
I want to challenge Marion County to begin showing more of their love, support and giving spirit to the March of Dimes Foundation. There is no reason why this community can't raise double the money that was raised this year ($9,500), and also raise awareness for premature babies in our community and elsewhere.
These babies can't help that they were born too soon.
But, we should be doing all that we can to give them the helping hand that they so desperately need.