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Taking steps ... to end birth defects

Carter Stone was born with an abdominal wall defect and hole in his heart. On Sunday May 4, the thriving 1-year-old and his family will lead the annual March for Babies walk in Red Wing to raise money for March of Dimes grant programs. (Photo provided by March of Dimes)

During an ultrasound appointment in 2011, Colleen Anderson and Kyle Stone of Hastings received some frightening news — their baby, Carter, would be born with a birth defect.

With a malformed abdominal wall and hole in his heart, Carter spent the first months of his life in an intensive care unit. Two surgeries later, the outlook for the happy 1-year-old seems bright.

Carter and his family were chosen as this year’s ambassadors for the March for Babies returning Sunday May 4 to Red Wing. The fundraiser supports March of Dimes’ efforts to help treat and prevent birth defects.

March for Babies is the organization’s largest fundraising event and is expected to bring in around $1.5 million statewide, said Danielle Prenevost, communications director for the March of Dimes Minnesota chapter.

“It’s very important because it funds our cutting-edge research,” she said, adding that the event has raised $2.3 billion across the country since the walks started in 1970.

“That’s a lot of walking and a lot of helping babies.”

As many as 2,000 children are born with a defect in the state each year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Birth defects are the leading cause of death for children under a year old.

The March of Dimes provides research grants to study the cause of birth defects, which the organization says is unknown in up to 70 percent of cases.

The Red Wing march already has collected close to $8,000 in local donations toward its $40,000 goal. Last year’s walk had over 170 participants and brought in over $35,000, according to March of Dimes.

The four-mile route begins 1 p.m. May 4 in Colvill Park. Registration starts at noon.

Instructions to sign up as an individual or team participant as well as links to donate to the event can be found at

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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