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Pictured from left at the March For Babies Kick of Breakfast at Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital are Carl Bachmann, Board President, March of Dimes Long Island Region, Adriann Combs, Regional Perinatal Coordinator for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, WFB Honoree, Jenny Tranfaglia, Ann Morrison, March of Dimes, Annette Kosar, Executive Director, March of Dimes Long Island Region, Margaret McGovern, MD, PhD Physician-in-Chief of Stony Brook Children’s and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, Ambassador Family members Kirk and Lila Niemann, Gerald Quirk, MD, PhD Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine.
March of Dimes "March for Babies" to be Held at Stony Brook Campus on Sunday May 1, 2011
Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital will partner with the March of Dimes as the Suffolk County venue for its annual "March for Babies" fundraising event. On Sunday, May 1 hundreds of walkers – individuals and teams – will gather at the Stony Brook University main campus to raise funds and give hope to the more than half a million babies born too soon each year.

"The March comes at an excellent time," said Margaret McGovern, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief of Stony Brook Children's and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. "We are scheduled to open our new state of the art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit this summer, and many of the walkers who will participate in May will have a real connection to this commitment on the part of the Children's Hospital to provide the most advanced care to premature and sick infants in a new facility designed to be family friendly."

Stony Brook Children's has chosen Jenny Tranfalgia as the Suffolk County 2011 March for Babies Honoree. It was 27 years ago that Jenny, and her husband Joe, had their daughter Amanda who was born at 26 weeks and lost her battle with prematurity 33 days later. As they went through the bereavement process, the Tranfaglias started the "Little Angle Fund" (LAF) whose mission is to support, educate and care for families touched by prematurity and make their experience in the NICU more comfortable.

Stony Brook Children's has also designated the Niemann Family of Smithtown as the official Ambassador Family for the 2011 March for Babies. Natalie and Kirk Niemann's second daughter, Lila was born eight weeks premature on September 27, 2008 with an abnormal collection of fluid inside her body cavities (severe hydrops). After six weeks of intense medical intervention and diagnostic workup, he was found to have a rare lung disorder called primary pulmonary lymphangiectasia. Through surgical intervention and expert care in the Stony Brook Children's NICU Lila was given a new lease on life. During her four month stay in the NICU, Lila and her family showed everyone how strong, resilient and courageous they are.

"Today, Lila is a happy, vibrant toddler who loves music, books and her big sister Sophie," said her father Kirk. "As a family, we are all proud to lead the March for Babies at Stony Brook."

The money raised by the March for Babies supports programs in our community that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. In addition, it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our precious newborns. March of Dimes has been walking with supporters since 1970 and has raised $1.8 billion to benefit babies everywhere.

Over the years March for Babies has become one of America's favorite walking events. Stony Brook University Medical Center encourages the community to join the more than one million people walking with their families, friends and/or co-workers in more than 900 communities across the nation, not only to raise funds, but to raise awareness. For every dollar a walker raises the March of Dimes spends 76 cents to support research and programs designed to help babies begin healthy lives. "Each year the NICU at Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital treats more than 900 premature babies," said Gerald Quirk, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine. "Participating in the March for Babies is a great way to make a difference in these little lives, and the lives of babies who have not yet been born."

For more information on walking as an individual or forming a team log onto Stony Brook Long Island Children's pledge page and help Stony Brook Children's and the March of Dimes get one step closer to achieving its mission.

About Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital Established in June 2010, Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital is Suffolk County's only children's hospital. More than 7,000 children and adolescents are admitted each year. Stony Brook Children's operates 100 pediatric beds and has more than 100 full time pediatric physicians and surgeons and over 200 voluntary pediatric faculty members in 30 different specialties. The hospital is the Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center for our area and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation's first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center and the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
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