Pictured: Hospital administrators Mark Casanova and Margot Rios were decked out in their finery for Friday's kick-off of March for Babies sponsored by the hospital. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

March for Babies kick-off rally held Friday at hospital

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

The March of Dimes local chapter held a kick off event Friday with an "Academy Awards" theme as teams get ready to raise money to help save babies' lives.

Debe Holt, community director for the March of Dimes, said this year's goal is to raise $60,000 in Alice to help with research and programs.

"We want to get health care for every baby in America," Holt said.

In our own community, March of Dimes has touched families' lives including the Morrises and the Patels.

Nicole Perez, managing editor for Alice Newspapers, shared her experience when her twins, Anthony Morris and Lillian Morris, were born premature.

"These tiny babies go through more than we can ever imagine," she said holding back tears as her twins stood in front of the room. "It's a very sad and a scary moment. We were lucky because of the March of Dimes and the research that they provide."

Dr. Nirupama P. Patel expressed the same sentiments as she recalled when her daughter was born premature weighing just over two pounds.

"But today, she is starting her medical school," Patel said. "She wants to come back to South Texas and save more babies."

During the event, decked out with the red carpet and interviews by "Joan Rivers," aka Nena Pitts, each team captain received their informational packet to begin raising money for the March of Dimes.

The glamour event included a sit-down luncheon.

Mark Casanova, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice's administrator, opened the meeting strutting a tuxedo along with Margot Rios, assistant administrator, wearing a long black evening gown.

More than 50 people attended the March of Dimes kick off at the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice on Friday.

WalkAmerica was the first walking event in the nation. For 68 years, the March of Dimes has been on the cutting edge of research and programs to help save millions of babies from death and prematurity.

Holt presented a video about March of Dimes and how it has positively impacted families. Team captains also introduced the company they represented.

Some of the teams included Halliburton, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice, Alice Echo-News Journal's Morris Miracle Marchers, Dr. Patel's office, Coastal Bend College, Alice Independent School District, FCCLA from the Alice High School, Farmer's Insurance and Carlisle Insurance.

Victor Guzman, Corpus Christi director, said the most important people for the organization are the volunteers.

"I say it over and over again - volunteers, volunteers, volunteers - we can't do it without you," he said. "I have to brag about Alice because this is our biggest turnout."

March for Babies Alice is April 19 at Laviana Plaza. Teams should meet for photos at 8 a.m. The march begins at 9 a.m. and is followed by lunch.