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March of Dimes celebrates 75 years

Parents Amanda and Josh Anderson gained information and comfort through the March of Dimes newborn intensive care unit Family Support Program when their son Hudson was born two months prematurely and had to be airlifted from Alexandria to St. Cloud Hospital. Contributed1 / 2
Today, Hudson Anderson is a 1-year-old happy baby. Contributed2 / 2

March of Dimes, the leading non-profit organization for maternal and infant health, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and its ongoing work to help all babies get a healthy start in life.

About 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, and March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.

The Alexandria community will come together Wednesday, August 28 for a Jail and Bail event to help find an effective way to prevent premature birth and birth defects.

The Pizza Ranch on Broadway Street will host the March of Dimes Jail and Bail from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants are thrown in a mock jail and raise bail in the form of donations to March of Dimes.

Throughout its history, the March of Dimes has supported many research milestones that have benefitted newborn and child health.

Amanda and Josh Anderson received comfort and support from the March of Dimes when their son Hudson was born more than two months premature.

Hudson weighed barely more than four pounds and was immediately air lifted from Alexandria to St. Cloud Hospital where he was cared for in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

"I didn't get to hold or see my baby like most mothers do when they give birth to their babies," said Amanda. "For my husband and me, it was an emotional pain we have never experience before."

Hudson spent the next five weeks in the NICU. That's where the Andersons met other parents and gained information and comfort through the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program.

March of Dimes introduced the program in 2006 at St. Cloud Hospital. It is also hard at work to find the causes and preventions of premature birth, which affects one in 10 babies born in Minnesota.

Today, Hudson is a 1-year-old happy baby.

March of Dimes got its name when comedian Eddie Cantor asked Americans to send their dimes to President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House to help defeat polio.

The foundation later funded the development of the Salk vaccine which was tested in 1954 and licensed a year later, as well as the Sabin vaccine which became available in 1962. Nearly all babies born today still receive a polio vaccine.

For the latest resources and information on March of Dimes, visit or Find it on Facebook or Twitter.