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Guests and celebrities pay tribute to honorees and join March of Dimes fight against prematurityMarch of Dimes will host the 11th Annual Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures gala, sponsored by Farmers Insurance, to honor prominent individuals who have significantly impacted the African American community. The black tie gala will be held Friday, June 26 at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills from 5:30 pm--9:00 pm.
Attendees will begin the evening with a cocktail hour, where they will have the opportunity to bid on lavish gifts including a guitar signed by Miley Cyrus and luncheon and private shopping for ten at Valentino's, and luxurious vacations. Music for the event will be produced by Rickey Minor, Music Director of American Idol and guests will enjoy a live performance by The Whispers. Also participating in the program are multiple Grammy Award Winner Deniece Williams, actress Vanessa Williams, actress Camille Winbush and comedian Lewis Dix, Jr.. Guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner, followed by a showcase of monologues inspired by parents of premature babies.
"This event is a touching tribute to those who work tirelessly to improve the lives of others, "said Healthy Babies Healthy Futures Chair Faye McClure. "We are here to honor these individuals and to raise awareness of the number one threat to the health of African American babies--premature birth."
March of Dimes is honoring individuals who have significantly impacted the lives of African-Americans, and who are committed to ensuring babies have a healthy start in life. This year's honorees include Lloyd B. Greg, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, J. Melvin Muse, Chairman & CCO Muse Communications Inc., and Pamela Wiley-Wells, Ph.D., F-ASHA, President Los Angeles Center for Speech and Language Development.
Previous honorees: Myrlie Evers-Williams--President & CEO, Mew Assoc., Howard L. Bingham--Internationally Renowned Photojournalist, Dr. Keith Black, MD--Cedars-Sinai, Bettye J. Dixon--Concessions, Inc., Holly Robinson Peete--Actress, Henri R. Ford, MD, Vice President and Chief of Surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Robert C. Davidson. Jr., retired Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Surface Protection Industries (SPI); Chuck Smith, Former President and CEO of AT&T West; Sherin U. Devaskar, MD-Professor of Pediatrics/Neonatology, Executive Vice Chairman, Department of Pediatrics David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA; Wilbert W. James, Jr.-President, TABC, Inc. Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.; Sandra J. Evers-Manly-Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Northrop Grumman; Manuel "Manny" Grace-Senior Vice President, Counsel, The Walt Disney Company; John Salley-12 year NBA star and current co-host of "The Best Damn Sports Show Period", among others.
The Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures event has raised more than $1.5 million for the plight of prematurity, the leading cause of newborn death in the United States. Premature birth has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, endangering the lives of more than half a million babies
African-American women have the highest premature birth and infant mortality rates of all racial groups. Almost 55,000 babies are born premature every year in California and nearly half a million across the United States. In California, African-American infants are almost twice as likely as Caucasian infants to be born prematurely; and in the African-American community, 17.6% of all births are preterm, the highest among all ethnicities. In many cases, the mothers do everything right, but their babies are still born too early.
The effects of their early entrance into the world can last a lifetime, or even claim the lives of premature babies. From their lungs and hearts to their brains and eyes, premature babies can start life with a range of health problems that may never get better. In fact, half of all neurological disabilities in children are related to premature birth.
For more information contact Sara Hyde, March of Dimes at 415-786-5903 or e-mail to