Cape Girardeau March of Dimes event raises more than $30,000 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau March of Dimes event raises more than $30,000

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One in eight babies is born prematurely. While the numbers are much better than even five years ago, according to the March of Dimes there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The March of Dimes started out almost 75 years ago to fight polio. After winning that battle, organizers began the war on premature births.

In Southeast Missouri, the prematurity report card is pretty grim.

"We're a "D" bordering on an "F," said Beth Simmons, Director of the Southeast Missouri Chapter.

Overall though, Missouri gets a "C" rating.

"The new number one killer of American children is pre-mature birth," said Simmons. 

Three and half years ago Kate Koch was glowing, ready to become a first-time mom. 

"My pregnancy was perfect," said Koch. "I started pre-natal care at six weeks, and had no problems whatsoever."

At 25 weeks gestation she ended up in the hospital. 

"I was 4 centimeters dilated, they couldn't stop my contractions," said Koch. 

Two days later she delivered one pound baby Bailey.

During Bailey's 67 days in the hospital, her parents Jason and Kate Koch experienced multiple ups and downs. 

"They can't tell you what's going to happen, they just prepare you for the worst," said Kate Koch. 

More than three years later, little Bailey is happy and healthy.

"She's my miracle baby," said Kate Koch. 

Why Bailey came early remains a mystery.

"Smoking during pregnancy, drinking during pregnancy, not getting proper prenatal care has a lot to do with prematurity rates, but there is about 50% that we don't know why babies are born prematurely," said Beth Simmons. "You can do everything right and go into labor early."

Kate and Bailey fall into that 50 percent.

Because there is still so much unknown, the March of Dimes continues to not only educate women about healthy pregnancies, but also funds research. 

"One out eight babies born in Missouri is born prematurely, that's 191 a week and 12 a week don't survive," said Simmons. 

The Koch's now have a new addition to their family.

Two-month-old Aden was born full term. 

"He was 7 pounds, seven ounces, and 21 inches long," said Koch. 

Kate said she had to take medicine throughout her entire pregnancy to ensure she didn't go into early labor.

The mother of two can't imagine her life without the March of Dimes, and the organization's efforts to prevent pre-term babies. 

"If it wasn't for the March of Dimes, I don't know if I would have my kids," said Koch. "They are very important and very dear to my heart."

Thursday night the Southeast Missouri chapter of the March of Dimes hosted one of its biggest fundraisers of the year in Cape Girardeau.

Hundreds gathered at the Plaza Conference Center for The Signature Chefs Auction.

More than $30,000 was raised for the cause.

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