March for Babies raises $50,000

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Piepho family, this year's March of Dimes Walk for Babies ambassador family, cuts the ribbon on this year's walk Saturday morning. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The weather didn’t cooperate for the March of Dimes Saturday morning, but area residents still surpassed last year’s totals for the annual March for Babies.

Walkers taking part in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies Saturday coped with snow, slush and high winds that fell over night. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“While Mother Nature wasn’t necessarily good to us this year, everybody else really has been and we’re really grateful for that,” chairwoman Peggy Young said.

Despite tapering flurries and highs around 32, the walk raised about $50,000 and beat last year’s total of about $40,000.

Young feared a few people would skip the walk, but the weather didn’t deter participants.

“We’ve got an awful lot of them that are going to stick it out,” Young said before the walk started. “They’re going to make that six-mile route and they’re going to come back like Popsicles and have some lunch.”

“I don’t think the weather conditions on game day are going to hold us back at all,” she added, noting people have been raising money for weeks.

About 180 walkers completed the 6-mile walk and proved Young right.

The money raised goes toward research and education efforts for expectant mothers.

“The whole point of doing this is to make sure every child born from here on out is born healthy,” Young said.

Tina Quail gets her daughter Lila Quail bundled up for Saturday's March of Dimes Walk for Babies. Walkers coped with snow, rain, and high winds. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The top earning team was DJ Piepho — the team headed by this year’s ambassador family Charlie and Chantell Piepho and their children Caleb, 6, and Brianna, 1. The team took in about $6,770. Charlie and Chantell’s son, Daniel, was born at 23 weeks weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces and he died two hours after birth because his lungs hadn’t fully developed.

Caleb and Brianna, this year’s ambassador baby, were both born prematurely, too.

“Even though I did lose a child, I still have two healthy children,” Chantell said. “With medical technology and the help of the March of Dimes, I was able to have two children that lived.”

Chantell said March of Dimes helps all families through immunizations, education and research, even if they don’t have a premature child.

“(The March of Dimes) can help other families that may not have to deal with what we dealt with,” Chantell said.

“In one way or another, the March of Dimes touches every child, every family,” she added.