Clermont County will be well represented this weekend during the annual March of Babies and March of Dimes walks.
The 2010 Ambassador Family for the Clermont March of Babies Saturday, March 24 and the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky March of Dimes walk on Sunday, April 25 is the Rebhun family from Clermont County.
Peter and Tiffannie began volunteering for the March of Dimes shortly after their twin sons Matthew and Jackson were born on July 1, 2003. The boys were born about 11 weeks premature and in fact Tiffannie’s labor actually began at 18 weeks. She spent 12 weeks in the hospital receiving treatments to strengthen the boys before their birth.
"The first few years were difficult," Tiffannie said. "They saw physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists, but they didn't suffer any ill effects other than respiratory issues. Over all they've developed right along with their peers."
Once the Rebhun family made it home from the hospital six years ago Peter and Tiffannie began to seek out organizations that made their sons' survival possible and that is when they learned about the contributions of March of Dimes.
"We are so grateful and thankful that our children did survive that we had to become involved with the hope that some day there will never be another family that will have to go through what we did," Tiffannie said.
The March of Dimes was originally started to find a cure for Polio, and once their dream was realized in the 1950's, the organization set their sights on birth defects and premature births.
March of Dimes now provides education for high risk mothers, grants for research in pre-mature birth and birth defect prevention, funding for nurse mid-wives who provide pre-natal care for mothers in rural locations that may not other wise have access, and increasing public awareness of the problem and available solutions.
Tiffannie said March of Dimes has been instrumental in spreading the use of pre-natal vitamins. She said most grocery stores now carry whole wheat bread fortified with folic acid to minimize the risk of neural tubular diseases like spinal bifida and K-mart will provide free one month's supply of pre-natal vitamins to any pregnant mother who comes into the store.
Tiffannie said March of Dimes' work to establish neonatal intensive care units like the one at Good Samaritan Hospital and their funding of research into the lung lubricant pulmonary surfactant directly contributed to Matthew and Jackson's survival and development.
"Since then we've been very involved in March of Dimes fund-raising and committees," Tiffannie said.
She is currently serving her fifth year on the walk committee.
The family has been very active in the weeks leading up to the walks as the 2010 Ambassador family. They have spoken at several corporate fund-raising kickoff events including Citi Bank, the local Ford UAW, and the national K-mart kickoff event.
"We're really excited to be able to use this platform to spread the March of Dimes mission to bring about awareness of premature birth and birth defects signs and symptoms in an effort to prevent them," Tiffannie said.
Matthew and Jackson are also looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at a Reds game later this season on behalf of March of Dimes.
Clermont County's walk in Miami Meadows Park Saturday morning was anticipating about 500 walkers and the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky walk in Sawyer Park was anticipating 10,000 walkers Sunday morning.
Tiffannie said anyone who was not able to participate in this year's walk can still donate to the March of Dimes through the Rebhun family's personal website at www.marchforbabies.org/tcrrn.
"Support team Rebhun!" Tiffannie said.