Event is April 19 in Alice

WalkAmerica, the March of Dimes largest fundraising event, which brought in $117 million nationwide last year, has been renamed March for Babies.

The new name makes a clear connection to what the March of Dimes is all about - the health of babies.

"The name of our event has changed, but our mission stays the same - working towards the day when every baby is born healthy," said Mark Casanova, CEO, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Alice, 2008 March for Babies Chair. "We hope the new name will bring more people on board to help make that day a reality."

In Alice, March for Babies will take place on Saturday, April 19th at 8 a.m. at LaViana Plaza, Flournoy Road. Residents can sign up today to help fund lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies. Last year, 200 residents participated, raising a little over $39,000.

Casanova emphasized that the mission priority of the March of Dimes is to fight the growing crisis of prematurity. "Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and we are committed to reducing its toll," he said. "By engaging more people in our mission, and educating more pregnant women and moms about healthy babies, we hope to reach that goal much sooner."

In addition to a new name, March for Babies has a new Web site. Interested walkers and donors can visit www.marchforbabies.org or call toll-free 1-800-525-9255 to sign up as an individual, start a corporate, family or friends team, or donate to help babies be born healthy.

The new name of its premier event is part of a larger March of Dimes initiative focused on all babies - those born healthy as well as those who need help to survive and thrive.

The March of Dimes also has released a new public service advertising campaign, and is offering pregnant women and moms new medical information in new ways that fit their active lifestyle, including email, podcasts, and text messaging.

In 2008, National March for Babies sponsors are CIGNA, Continental Airlines, Famous Footwear, Farmers, FedEx, Grain Foods Foundation, Liberty Tax Services, nesting.com, and Kmart, the March of Dimes number one corporate partner which has raised more than $63 million for babies. Additional national sponsorship is provided by Discovery Health, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Outdoor Services and Ther-Rx.

"In Alice we are proud also to be sponsored by Halliburton as our Presenting Sponsor for the event and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital, Kick-Off Sponsor and Host" Casanova said.

For more information about March for Babies, or to register to participate in the Alice March for Babies on April 19th, visit www.marchforbabies.org, or call local March of Dimes Community Director, Debe Holt, toll free at 1-800-580-4215.