OCEANSIDE — More than 1,000 participants walked, ran and pushed strollers to raise funds and awareness to fight birth defects in the March of Dimes 5K walk on The Strand on March 7.
The annual fundraiser is expected to raise $160,000 this year.
Before the walk healthy snacks were doled out and walkers warmed up with instructor-led stretches.
Walkers participated as individuals, families, or as teams in support of a child who has benefited from the March of Dimes efforts.
Nellie Maya, of San Jose, crossed the finish line in a bright yellow shirt with her great nephew’s picture on it. Her 4-year-old nephew who was born with a birth defect is now taking his first steps thanks to the March of Dimes. “They have wonderful services,” Maya said. “Never say never.”
Following the walk there were opportunities for team photos, activities at kids craft stations and handouts at information booths.
“It’s one of three March for Babies walks,” Brad Pagano, the March of Dimes senior director of fundraising, said.
Annual walks are also held in Brawley and Balboa Park in San Diego. Total fundraising efforts bring in more than $800,000 to promote the health of babies and educate parents. The goal of the organization is to ensure that all babies are born healthy.
The Bay family of Oceanside is the ambassador family of the Oceanside walk. The March of Dimes helped their daughter who was born prematurely. She is now 2 years old.