Austin banding together to help March of Dimes

Mower County residents are about to go behind bars to help the March of Dimes continue work to prevent premature birth and birth defects.

The Eagles Club will host the March of Dimes Jail and Bail from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. Participants are thrown in a mock jail and raise bail in the form of donations to the March of Dimes.

The Austin community will help the March of Dimes invest in new transdisciplinary research centers. This network will use a wide range of experts to collaborate to find causes and cures. Already more than 200 scientists from more than 20 disciplines are at work, and this number could double by 2015.

Recent advances in medicine and technology are enabling innovative approaches that have never been tried before. With help from communities like Austin, March of Dimes will work to uncover the next breakthrough to improve the health of babies.

March of Dimes generates scientific solutions to eradicate health problems. With 450,000 babies born too soon — one in 10 in Minnesota — ending the crisis of preterm birth is the group’s latest mission. Premature birth is a leading cause of newborn death, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, hearing loss and blindness. The U.S. has the highest premature birth rate of any industrialized country.

Premature birth is emotionally costly and has huge financial impacts. Employers pay $12 billion annually in excess health care costs for premature babies, and the U.S. spends $26 billion total. Premature babies cost 14 times as much as a healthy baby.

In Minnesota, March of Dimes funds community grants aimed at providing pregnant women the tools for healthy eating and breastfeeding. March of Dimes advocates work with state leaders to improve the state’s Newborn Screening program. In addition, March of Dimes is working with hospitals to reduce early elective deliveries. March of Dimes and the Minnesota Hospital Association recently recognized Olmsted Medical Center, Owatonna Hospital and 62 other Minnesota hospitals for giving more babies a healthy start.

To join the Austin Jail and Bail, register at marchofdimes.com/jailandbail. Since its inception in 1957, more than 5 million citizens have volunteered their time in the name of fun and a good cause at the March of Dimes Jail and Bail.

For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org, or follow the group on Facebook and Twitter @marchofdimesmn.

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