I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kmart. I received product samples and a travel stipend to attend an event, and I received a promotional item to thank me for participating and a donation was made on my behalf to March of Dimes.  #TeamKmart @marchofdimes #marchforbabies  #MC #sponsored

 March of Dimes: Seattle and Greater PS 2014 Walk #TeamKmart #MC #sponsored

I was given the fantastic opportunity to participate in the 2014 Greater Puget Sound March for Babies® walk.  I was had no idea what to expect prior to the start of the 5K, but by the end of the walk I was left with a whole new perspective of strength, courage and hope. The people I met and the stories I heard have forever touched me and for that I am so grateful.

The March of Dimes: A Brief History & Their Mission

For those of you unfamiliar with the March of Dimes Foundation, I offer a brief history.  Founded by President Franklin Roosevelt with the intent to prevent polio, the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis set out on a mission.  Better known as the March of Dimes, the foundation researched patient care and studied vaccinations which eventually led to the eradication of Polio within the United States. Having completed their first cause, the foundation changed their focus on finding ways to prevent infant mortality, premature births, and birth defects.

2014 Greater Puget Sound March for Babies®

History aside, the mission of the foundation is incredible but my experience at the walk allowed me to put a face and name to the cause.  The morning of the walk was a typical May weekend in Seattle. The weather was gloomy and rain was in the forecast.  I was a little concerned about the turn out for the event because as I looked around I found small clusters of people huddled together, not the volume of walkers I have come to expect on these types of walks.  However I was thankfully mistaken as we approached the starting time.  Quickly these small clusters of walkers turned into a graceful herd, the speakers opened up about their personal ties to the cause, and within a few minutes the procession began.

Our Team -  March of Dimes: Seattle and Greater PS 2014 Walk #TeamKmart #MC #sponsored

Our Team – My family and my healthy newborn niece.

The walk began slowly as we were channeled from the Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center down some small side roads and out into the city.  The weather was holding and spirits were high; it was surprisingly perfect.  As we entered the city we were greeted by the amazing Seattle Fire Department and Blue Thunder, the drum line for none other than the Seattle Seahawks. The walkers were clapping and dancing along as we made our way farther into the walk. It was at this point that I realized how many people were participating in this event.  In all honesty the photos do not do it any justice, I thought I was in the back of the pack but when I looked at the crowd I realized that there were many, many more walkers.  I paused a few moments and took in the sights… I was shocked.

A sea of walkers -  March of Dimes: Seattle and Greater PS 2014 Walk #TeamKmart #MC #sponsored

A sea of walkers

My shock quickly turned to curiosity, I began to read the shirts and signs around me and that’s when I had my ‘ah-ha’ moment.  Even on my worst day, I have never experienced the challenges these families had been through.  The loss of children, the survival of the unthinkable, and the challenges we all face and overcome are truly a testament that life does go on and that miracles do happen. Its incomprehensible how an infant born at 28 weeks and 2lbs 7oz can survive, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t had seen it.  Life is precious and I am forever thankful for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this amazing walk.

Preemie Grads -  March of Dimes: Seattle and Greater PS 2014 Walk #TeamKmart #MC #sponsored

Preemie Grads

How can you help?

Kmart, the largest corporate supporter of the March of Dimes foundation is kicking off their 2014 drive with new ways to donate and special rewards for Shop Your Way members. Now through June 21st donations can be made in-store at any Kmart or online at Kmart.com/marchofdimes.  The thing that makes this partnership between Kmart and March of Dimes special is 100% of the donations go directly to March of Dimes.

March of Dimes BearIn addition to online and in-store donations, Kmart is offering Shop Your Way members special benefits for donating to the March of Dimes foundations. Members who donate in-store will receive a coupon for 5% back in points on their next qualifying purchase.  Another addition this year, Kmart has introduced a collectible puppy figurine with proceeds of the purchase benefiting the March of Dimes foundation.

This year marks the 22nd year Kmart has sponsored the March for Babies® walk for the March of Dimes foundation and this spring 900 communities across the nation will play host to this special event. Take a look at the upcoming events and see if you can get involved in your city.

As you can see Kmart is highly involved and dedicated to this cause and after participating in my local walk I can fully understand why.

For more information or to donate please visit kmart.com/marchofdimes.

This is a worthy cause and one I will continue to support in the future. Have you participated in a March of Dimes Walk?

March of Dimes Seattle & Greater Puget Sound Walk (Video)