Merrill, Sanders to co-chair Triangle March for Babies - WNCN: News, Weather

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Merrill, Sanders to co-chair Triangle March for Babies

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More than 16,000 of North Carolina’s babies will be born premature this year, and WNCN anchor Melanie Sanders and Wake County Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill are working with the March of Dimes to change this. The two will co-chair this year’s Triangle March for Babies on April 26th.

Sanders and Merrill will raise awareness of the need for funding to provide for babies who are born premature or with birth defects. They have made the commitment to help achieve the overall event goal of $670,000.

Merrill, a former English teacher, Associate Superintendent of Finance and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, had previously served Wake County Schools for 16 years, and has returned now as superintendent. He also served as Superintendent of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Alamance-Burlington School System. Sanders anchors WNCN News at 6 p.m. and produces the content series “What’s Next,” highlight local innovators and emerging technology.

“At WNCN, our mission is built upon serving this community,” said Sanders, who will emcee this year’s event. “I am honored to serve in this role for such an important cause. I invite everyone reading this to get involved and join us on April 26.”

“As a stepfather and lifelong educator, I can’t think of a more important cause than the health of our babies,” said Merrill, who will be asking other local businesses for their support in the coming months. “More than 20,000 companies are partnering in March for Babies to help reduce the premature birth rate and improve the health of babies.”

March for Babies, the March of Dimes largest fundraiser, helps fund lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies. Last year in the Triangle area more than $525,000 was raised. This year, Sanders and Merrill will lead the community in participation and making a difference for the health of moms and babies. One in eight babies here in North Carolina are born premature and it takes leaders in our community working together to ensure more moms have healthy pregnancies.

“We’re so excited to have Melanie Sanders and Dr. Jim Merrill on board to help us at a local level,” said Tyler Salisbury, Eastern Carolina Volunteer Board Member. “Their passion for the cause and commitment to helping our babies will be a huge driving factor in the success of our event. We are grateful for their commitment.”

Triangle residents can sign up today at and start a team with co-workers, family or friends. Last year, more than 4,000 people attended the event -- which will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014.

About March of Dimes

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The 2014 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Macy’s, Famous Footwear, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines.

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