Health & Wellness

March of Dimes Celebrates 75th Anniversary With Fundraising Kickoff Event

Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Original Russian paintings on sale for the next fundraiser for the March of Dimes. Currently on display at the Performing Arts Center at SCCC. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Barbara Wortmann, March for Babies Event Chair, and Joe Biondo, National Co-Chair for Family Teams, who shared his story of losing his twins to premature birth. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Guests enjoy some snacks! Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Delivering the opening speech. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Guest at "Music of the Decades" listen to speeches before the performance. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Bill Snouffer from Franklin Sussex Automall announced that he would be donating $10,000 to the March of Dimes. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
The screen while awaiting the performance to start. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Ballerinas from the Biryukov Academy perform. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
The talented singers of the Biryukov Academy singing a selection of "ABBA" songs. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Elena Zelenina, Program Director for the night and who organized the show, from the Biryukov Academy. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo

 NEWTON, NJ - "I don’t do this to support the March of Dimes, I do it to thank them,” expressed Kelly Cart, a mother to premature twins, saved by the research done by the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes is currently celebrating its 75th Anniversary, and sponsored a kickoff event at Sussex County Community College on Friday, Feb. 1. The organization teamed up with the Biryukov Academy, and its Program Director Elena Zelenina, to display incredible performances by talented, local children in music and dance. The event, "Music of the Decades,"  took the audience on a trip through the periods that the March of Dimes has been active. From "Whistle A Happy Tune" to "Dancing Queen," and "My Heart Will Go On" to "Red," no decade was left behind.

 The fun filled event also featured hors d’oeuvres, live music and speeches by parents affected by premature birth. The event also brought out some of the organizations most valued allies: its volunteers.

“I can’t participate in the walk, so I wanted to support this way,” said Helen Wescott of Sandyston. “I wanted to support the March of Dimes and sick babies.”

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Local business supporters and partners came out in full force, including Bill Snouffer from Franklin Sussex Automall, who pledged $10,000 to the organization during a speech, and Newton Medical Center.

“Newton Medical Center is very proud to be a sponsor of the March of Dimes walk; it’s a very important cause to raise funds for research and development and care for these families. For Newton Medical Center, we deliver babies every day; you hope every baby is born within the normal window of time and that they are born healthy, but it’s good to know that an organization like the March of Dimes is there to help and support,” said Susan Frost, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Atlantic Health System, and a volunteer committee member for the Sussex/ Warren March of Dimes chapter.

“Likewise, Newton Medical Center is seamlessly connected to Morristown Medical Center with its neonatal unit, so if a baby is born premature one of the Atlantic Health Hospitals can assist with that birth,” Frost continued.

The attendees expressed a sense of pride and accomplishment throughout the evening, for what the March of Dimes has accomplished to help premature and sick babies during the past 75 years, from raising awareness to helping create lifesaving vaccines. Although all re-emphasized, there is always more work to be done.

 “We’re not through, we won’t stop until every baby is born healthy,” said March for Babies Event Chair and Executive Director of the Alumni Foundation at Sussex County Community College, Barbara Wortmann.

“We are really delighted to be part of the March of Dimes, not only the college, but myself as well. Children are just what make the world go round and it makes us go round too. We really want to do all we can to improve research and education. All of the volunteers and the people that are dedicated to the March of Dimes, we thank them and it’s wonderful. We’ve done so much in the last 75 years and we are really looking forward to the next 75 and making sure every child is born healthy,” said Wortmann.

"Music of the Decades" and the North Jersey chapter of the March of Dimes, those involved agreed, had an amazing group of volunteers and committee members on hand to help out during the event, but it would not have been pulled off without the hard work of JoAnn Bartoli, Community Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the March of Dimes.

“We had a great turnout and I think the community in Sussex County really comes together and we hope that the people that came and told their stories touched the people that were here because I know that I am touched every time I hear these stories,” said Bartoli. “I just hope that it has made a difference in some of the lives of the people that were here and that they come out on April 28, and march with us."

Next on the group's fundraising agenda is the sale of original pieces of 20th Century Russian Art, currently on display at the Performing Arts Center at Sussex County Community College.

For more information the March of Dimes, or to register for the April 28 march at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, visit


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