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MAYOR BOOKER, FELD ENTERTAINMENT DISNEY ON ICE AND MARCH OF DIMES HOST FIRST-EVER NEWARK MARCH FOR BABIES AT THE PRUDENTIAL CENTER
The event is presented in partnership with Prudential Center and Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream.
Newark, NJ: November 17, 2011: Mayor Cory A. Booker, Municipal Council President Donald M. Payne Jr., Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Fire Director Fateen A. Ziyad, and other dignitaries hosted the first-ever Newark March For Babies event today at the Prudential Center at 165 Mulberry Street in Downtown Newark. WWOR-TV/My9 Chief Weather Anchor Audrey Puente served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event. Three-time Stanley Cup champion Ken Daneyko made a special appearance to show his support. Major sponsors of the event were Gibbons, P.C., and United Healthcare. Newark Alliance, Newark Now and Embracing Arms were also very supportive.
I commend the March of Dimes for its long-standing advocacy against birth defects, and urge all Newark residents to join the fight against birth defects and premature births, by observing World Prematurity Day. Newark is especially impacted by premature births, with one in six babies being born premature. By coming together as a community today, we are working toward stronger and healthier babies, Mayor Booker said.
The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness of the national rate of premature births, which is 1 in 8. That statistic is dramatically increased in Newark. One in six babies in Newark is a premature birth, which is a rate of 17 percent. African-American premature births in Newark have a rate of 19.6 percent, Latino premature births in Newark are 15.4 percent, and Asian premature infants are at 12.2 percent.
I am so proud to join Newarkers from every community in support of the March of Dimes. Today, at the first-ever Newark March for Babies,' we have committed ourselves to the health and happiness of premature babies and their families for years to come, said Council President Payne. March of Dimes has saved many lives and reduced the medical burden on countless families. We need to do all that we can to ensure that babies born in the Newark Community are happy and healthy. The Newark March of Dimes will get us one giant step closer to reducing the number of premature births in our area.
I am honored to be teaming up with the March of Dimes to help them on their
mission to help mothers have healthy babies and conduct research to address birthdefects. Premature births and babies with birth defects are serious issues affectingEssex County and Newark, and the March of Dimes programs provide invaluable support and resources to help parents who have to go through the ordeal of having an unhealthy newborn. Today's event was a great way to rally the community behind this great cause and raise awareness about the seriousness about premature births, said County Executive DiVincenzo.
The national rate of premature births is 1 in 8 babies, said Mary Linn Lombardo, Community Director of the March of Dimes NJ Chapter. The premature birth rate in Newark is dramatically increased. The March of Dimes recognizes the urgent need to help reduce the number of premature births in the Greater Newark area.
Today's event was special to the Fire Department. Having the opportunity to
contribute to the March of Dimes and the March for Babies is important to our
community service. Each day we go out and rescue children, babies, as well as adults, and it has a profound effect on our lives. Being able to save a life without having to hear the fire bell ring means more to us than having the bell ringing itself, said Fire Director Ziyad.
Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman and Managing Partner, New Jersey Devils, said in astatement, This is an important partnership and we are honored to be hosting thisevent. We are very excited to have the participants experience the PrudentialCenter through this March of Dimes fundraising walk.
The City of Newark provided a team of municipal employees, including a team of 40Firefighters, to participate in the quarter-mile walk around the Prudential Center'sindoor concourse. Joining over 200 students from Marion P. Thomas Charter, morethan 35 teams took part in the event, including teams from Newark Beth IsraelChildren's Hospital, UMDNJ NICU and major corporations such as Verizon, Johnson& Johnson, PSEG and Investors Bank. Prudential Center also formed its own teamof PruRock Stars volunteers to walk in honor of World Prematurity Day.
A special performance by the Apprentice Chorus of the Newark Boys Chorus Schoolwas accompanied by a video montage of special premature babies from Newark created by Ironbound Film & Television Studio. Attendees also enjoyed a preview ofFeld Entertainment's Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream and receiveddiscounted tickets for that evening's performance.