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Fundraising begins for March for Babies

Team captains will kick off fundraising for the March for Babies walk on Thursday.

The March for Babies walk in Farmington is in its 18th year. This year’s walk will be April 23 at Long Memorial Park.

Arianna Belknap was named the Ambassador Child for this year’s walk. She was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. John’s Mercy for 63 days.

Last year was the first year Arianna’s family participated in the event. They were “Team Mommies for Babies.” Arianna’s mom Brandi and Brandi’s sister Crystal Polite had a double inspiration to participate in the walk. They were pregnant at the same time. However, Crystal lost her son Damen in March of 2007.

Crystal, who has two other children and watches Arianna, said, “She is so active and it helps being able to baby-sit her while my sister is at work.”

Austin Lee, the Ambassador Child last year, will also help promote the event this year. He was born 3 months premature, weighing  1 pound 12 ounces and spending 139 days in the NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

“He’s so excited and still talks about everyone from last year,” said his mom Angela Lee.

The team captain kick-off meeting is noon Thursday. Captains may sign up teams then or may go to the Web site: At the luncheon a team member packet will be given out with all the information. If captains are unable to attend, they should send a member of their group to get the information.

For more information about the location of the luncheon or questions call Mary McEntire at 573-747-2074 or Mary Forest at 573-747-2080. Debbie Atchison is the Southeast Director for the March of Dimes and she can be reached at 573-651-6033 or

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