Posts Tagged ‘military families’

The Military and the March of Dimes

Monday, November 12th, 2012

military-and-mod4

In its drive to promote healthy pregnancy, the March of Dimes considers every avenue of outreach. This has included cordial ties with U.S. Armed Forces in order to support military families. Historically, our earliest years coincided with the global catastrophe of World War II when our founder – President Franklin D. Roosevelt – was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces. In that troubled time, our military ties were many and various. An early research grant went to Drs. John Paul and Albert Sabin to find out why American GIs in Egypt contracted polio when native populations seemed immune to the disease. The Foundation created a fund-raising unit that coordinated its annual “March of Dimes” campaigns with all branches of the military. Our Armed Forces Division was so popular that top brass such as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and Admiral Chester Nimitz wrote enthusiastic public messages of support for our fight against polio.

After the war, the most conspicuous military program was the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). MATS was a standing agreement of the March of Dimes with the U.S. Air Force to airlift iron lung respirators to epidemic areas and even individuals with paralytic polio to hospitals for special care. In one case, MATS cargo aircraft shipped iron lungs to a polio epidemic in Japan in 1961. With the advent of the Salk polio vaccine developed with March of Dimes funds, the Foundation ensured that military personnel were protected from the polio virus. Military personnel and their families from the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard dispensary to the U.S. Army Hospital at West Point participated in March of Dimes polio vaccination programs.

When the March of Dimes turned toward birth defects prevention in the 1960s, our involvement with the military also turned in a new direction. We then maintained on staff an official liaison to the military as we broadened our approach to birth defects by focusing on all the determinants of healthy pregnancy. And, in our examination of the genetic causes of birth defects, we provided advice to Viet Nam era veteran groups about medical and genetic counseling for victims of Agent Orange. Our relationship to the Veterans of Foreign Wars has been mutually supportive for decades, and several March of Dimes national ambassadors have been members of military families. One of these, Cody Groce, was very proud to appear with Gen. Colin Powell at our National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in 1998. Our most recent effort in support of military families has been our involvement in Operation Shower.

In the darkest days of World War II, FDR offered these words to characterize his understanding of the March of Dimes mission: “Nothing is closer to my heart than the health of our boys and girls and young men and young women. It is one of the front lines of national defense.” With this impetus, the March of Dimes went on to defeat polio and launch a new mission against birth defects and prematurity. FDR’s original sentiment bears close resemblance to our passionate quest for “stronger, healthier babies” today.

Note on photo: Sailors in formation spell out “March of Dimes” on board aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1962

Military mom baby shower

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

See what happens when the March of Dimes throws a baby shower for mothers serving in the military. Thank you to all our military families for everything you do. Have a safe and celebratory 4th of July

Baby shower held for military moms-to-be

Friday, January 27th, 2012

operation-showerForty moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed with the military had the opportunity to experience what many other expectant women may take for granted – a baby shower.  These moms, whose spouses all are members of the U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and California Army National Guard, were honored during a group baby shower hosted by Operation Shower with support from Birdies for the Brave and presented by Datron World Communications.  March of Dimes served as the shower’s lead health education partner, providing essential information on how to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy and a healthy baby.

The shower was held at a luncheon on Tuesday, January 24, in the San Diego Padres Military Appreciation Pavilion at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla during the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open.

Each of the honored moms-to-be received Operation Shower’s signature “Shower In a Box” – a gift of high-quality products for mothers and babies.   March of Dimes also provided information on essential topics ranging from warning signs of pre-term birth, to which newborn screening tests every baby should have, to information specifically for dads as part of its Mission: Healthy Baby Program.  All military moms and dads can request Mission: Healthy Baby materials by sending their name and address to missionhealthybaby@marchofdimes.com.

Very high levels of stress, such as the stress caused by a deployment, may contribute to premature birth or low birthweight. “Having a baby is a joyful experience. However, it’s also one that comes with anxiety and stress, especially when your spouse is deployed overseas by the U.S. military,” said Miriam Erdosi of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes believes in supporting moms and moms-to-be and we’re grateful for this opportunity to help these military families. These showers and our Mission: Healthy Baby program give families the comfort, support and information they deserve.”

The March of Dimes support for the military dates back to its founding by President Roosevelt in 1938. Mission: Healthy Baby, is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was designed specifically to address the unique needs of military members who may be stationed far away from the support of family and friends, or who may be fighting a war while their partner is home, expecting a child.

Operation Shower is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and honoring military families by providing joyful baby showers for military moms-to-be to ease the burden of deployment, or in cases where spouses are seriously injured.   Since the organization’s inception in 2007, Operation Shower has showered more than 500 military moms from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard on military bases, during PGA TOUR tournaments, and at other locations.

Mission: Health Baby

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

With Veteran’s Day here, I want to remind you about our program for military families in your communities. Mission: Healthy Baby®, is a program designed specifically for military families to provide free pregnancy and newborn health information and support services. The program was developed with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Ladies Auxiliary VFW.

Having a baby is a joyful experience, but it’s also one that comes with anxiety and concerns. Very high levels of stress, such as the stress caused by a deployment, may contribute to premature birth or low birthweight in full-term babies. Military families can request Mission: Healthy Baby materials by sending their name and address to missionhealthybaby@marchofdimes.com.