Mill Creek Regional Park was filled with pink and blue balloons, music and walkers who had gathered to raise money for the March of Dimes Saturday.
The organization's annual fundraiser, WalkAmerica, is held in over 1,100 communities across the country to raise funds to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Karen Stackhouse, community director for theMarch of Dimes, southeast region, said the event had almost double the number of participants that walked last year. The event was orginally scheduled for the same weekend as the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, but organizers re-scheduled the walk so people could have the chance to participate in both events.
Families with young children, some in strollers, college students, retirees and avid exercisers made up the group that got started around 9 a.m.
Brittany Lewis, a Georgia Southern University student, said she was walking to support a worthy cause. "I already try to walk or run every day, so I figured I might as well come out and support a good cause," she said.
The event Saturday raised around $20,000 alone. Stackhouse said $15,000 more is needed to meet the area's goal, but there are still more fundraisers planned and some corporate teams that have their own fundraisers.
On May 7, Chick-fil-A will host a Spirt Night for the March of Dimes. Volunteers will bus tables and all tips, as well as ten percent of the revenue from the restaurant from 5 to 8 p.m., will be donated to the charity.
According the Stackhouse, Saturday's event was a success.
"I want to thank our sponsors and the teams that walked. They have helped save the lives of lots of babies with their continued support," she said.
"If you see a March of Dimes bucket somewhere, drop some coins in it. If you get an email asking you to donate money, please donate," Stackhouse continued. "This is an important mission and a very worthy cause."
Hayley Harris may be reached at 489-9411.