March For Babies won't be held in Shelby

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By Laura Clark

There will be no March for Babies in Shelby County this year.

This annual event, which had been scheduled for Oct. 3, fell through this year because of problems on the state level.

The last couple of years, this event has raised $18,000 to $20,000, which supports programs in the community that help expecting mothers have healthy, full-term pregnancies and supports research concerning ill or premature babies.

"We didn't have the staff to pull it off," said Lisa Echsner, Kentucky's State Director.

Because of the tough economy, Echsner said, the March of Dimes Foundation had to lay off some staff. At that time, little had been done to prepare the Shelby County event, so she turned to volunteers.

But the volunteers did not have enough time to get sponsors and plan the many details of the event.

Still, some sponsorship money was raised, and March of Dimes collected about $3,000 without the Walk for Babies.

"We do have a history in Shelby County," Echsner said. "We do have a lot of supporters out there, so we want to make sure we don't lose that."

Shelby County was not the only location to cancel its walk this year. Paintsville and Ashland also had to sit out a year. The tri-county walk, including Nelson, Bullitt and Spencer counties, nearly canceled, but Echsner said a volunteer made it happen.

She said Shelby County volunteers who tried to put on the March for Babies this October have shown interest in starting earlier next year to secure the corporate sponsorships, location, food and beverages, and other necessities to run the event.

"It's kind of an odd year, so we'll just have to step back and regroup for next year," Echsner said. "We'll just have to go in looking for volunteers to help."

Learn more about the March of Dimes Foundation at www.marchforbabies.org.