Just 3 pounds when she was born, Brittney spent three months in Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., during what her mother called a “very scary” time.
“In the hospital, March of Dimes contacted me to see if they could be of any help,” said Andrea Mazie, Brittney’s mother.
On Sunday, Brittney wanted to walk in the March of Dimes March for Babies fundraiser at Norlo Park to help babies in similar situations. A recent ankle injury prevented her from actually walking, but she pushed herself in a wheelchair.
Brittney Mazie said the only continued effect of her ordeal as an infant is asthma.
“She got stronger. I got stronger,” Andrea Mazie said.
The Mazies were among the 500 to 600 people anticipated for the March of Dimes March for Babies walk. The organization supporting research is celebrating its 75th year.
“Our goal is $75,000 for the 75th anniversary,” said Jennifer Rummel, community director for March of Dimes.
That would be an increase of $5,000 over the amount raised during the Franklin County, Pa., walk in 2012, Rummel said.
In an effort to seek increased giving, March of Dimes offered additional incentives for fundraising and contacted area restaurants to host nights when a portion of proceeds would benefit the organization. Entertainment offered for walkers included a magician, face painting, animals available for adoption from area shelters, cupcake decorating, a karate demonstration and trained individuals sharing information about how to install car seats.
Sunday marked Sunshine Conyer’s eighth time walking with March for Babies. She started when her twins were born at 32 weeks while the family lived in California.
“They were in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), and we just wanted to help,” said Conyer, of Orrtanna, Pa.
Later, Conyer’s son was born at 29 weeks and her daughter at 36 weeks. Normal gestation is considered 40 weeks.
Conyer said she feels it is important to support March of Dimes.
“It’s a good cause,” she said. “You can’t go wrong helping babies.”
Chambersburg resident Mandy Selders served as the Franklin County event’s ambassador this year. Her twin sons, Liam and Logan, were born at 33 weeks. Today, they are 19 months old.
Selders praised the March of Dimes’ research efforts.
“My boys wouldn’t be here without them, so they hold a special place in my heart,” she said.
The Mazies, of Chambersburg, participated in the walk with the “Baby Mummas” team. That team was comprised of 19 people from the Keystone Women’s Care OB-GYN practice.
To raise money, Chris Linhart from the Baby Mummas team said the co-workers paid $5 each to wear purple one day, hosted a bake sale, sold Thirty-One Gifts products and participated in a “war” of collecting dimes.
“It’s a good cause,” she said. “Premature babies are born all the time.”