PISCATAWAY, NJ - Unlike last year when rain made for a very wet walk, mild temperatures in the low 60s and partly sunny skies were the rule Sunday morning as more than 2,500 supporters of the March of Dimes participated in the 2017 March for Babies fundraiser in Johnson Park.
"Today was a great event," said Courtney Russomanno, the March of Dimes' development manager for North/Central New Jersey.
"We had a lot of organizations there from (area) high schools, Rutgers, fraternities and sororities, Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas hospital, Johnson & Johnson, EisnerAmper, PSE&G, (among other businesses)," said Russoanno about the level of support.
So far this year, fundraising efforts from individuals, and local, regional, and national supporters combined to raise about $175,000 in time for the annual morning walk.
"The money raised helps provide critical care for babies born prematurely or with birth defects, and have to receive extensive care through a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)," states the March for Babies website. "Through fundraising efforts and donations, the March of Dimes helps cover the costs involved with this type of care, as well as funds research on preventing birth defects and premature births."
"The weather held out for all of our participants as we were able to 'Hope, Remember and Celebrate' these very special babies and their families as a community," said Russomanno, noting this year's theme.
Volunteers set up a Memory Mile and a Memory Garden for supporters to "Remember" some of the young children who passed away, as well as an area to "Celebrate" those who were able to benefit from the contributions of the March of Dimes to their care, showing photos of how well they are thriving years after leaving the NICU.
"Everyone who came out and walked had a lot of fun with family and friends, old and new," Russomano added.
"The runners in our superhero sprint had an awesome time with their capes flying," she said about the race through the grass that was setup for the very young who would later march alongside their parents.
With a 2017 fundraising goal of $250,000 for Middlesex County, anyone who wishes to donate can do so throughout the year by visiting