OKEECHOBEE — The annual Okeechobee March of Dimes Foundation’s March for Babies 5K run/walk attracted 37 participants from the Seminole Tribe in support of the organization’s vision March 8 at Flagler Park.
Formerly known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, the March of Dimes has been in existence for more than 70 years. After accomplishing its original mission to aid the cure for polio, the March of Dimes shifted its focus to help provide education and research on birth defects and infant mortality.
Each year the foundation hosts March for Babies walks in communities throughout the nation to raise awareness and funds that support its mission.
According to the foundation’s website, more than $2 billion has been raised since the March for Babies walks started in 1970.
Barbara Boling, of the Seminole Health Department, said the Seminole Tribe has actively participated in these walks for more than 17 years.
“The March of Dimes walk in Okeechobee was the first foundation walk the Tribe participated in,” Boling said.
Although the Tribe does not participate in traditional fundraising for the foundation, they do make a significant donation each year.
“We believe strongly that all babies deserve a good start in life. The March of Dimes organization works to help ensure that mothers are educated, that research is state of the art and that services are available to the people who need them,” Boling said.