Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Perris Residents Raise Money in the "March for Babies"

Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers, a March of Dimes division chair, addresses the crowd of 2,000 who gathered for the annual March for Babies April 24 at Riverside Community College
Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers, a March of Dimes division chair, addresses the crowd of 2,000 who gathered for the annual March for Babies April 24 at Riverside Community College

Perris elected representatives and City staff joined more than 2,000 people walked, ran, jogged and strolled in a show of solidarity to raise money and support for the March of Dimes and its efforts to wipe out birth defects.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch welcomed the crowd that gathered at Riverside Community College to take part in the recent “March for Babies.”

Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers, who is a division chair for the March of Dimes, acted as emcee for the annual walk. There was music, the release of doves to honor infants who did not survive birth defects and the appearance of children who thrived thanks to the efforts of the March of Dimes. Then wave after wave of participants left the campus for the six-mile walk to raise awareness of birth defects and money to prevent them.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch leans down to get a word with Sara Cowan, who survived a congenital birth defect, and her mom, Amanda.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch leans down to get a word with Sara Cowan, who survived a congenital birth defect, and her mom, Amanda.

“We love babies, we want to see them all healthy and happy,” Rogers said. “Thank you all for showing your support for babies by taking part in this important event. It’s a great day for babies and you make it all possible.”

Among the dignitaries was Sarah Cowan, 4, who lives with her family in Fontana. In April 2006, Sara was born prematurely and weighed just one pound, 15 ounces. After spending 99 days in a neonatal intensive care unit she was able to go home. Thanks to research funded by March of Dimes and the care and support of her family, Sara is a healthy, active girl and she joined March of Dimes efforts to help prevent premature births.

Her mom, Amanda Cowan, said the help of volunteers like those who ran Saturday made her daughter’s spectacular recovery possible.

Marchers by the dozens took part in the six-mile walk
Marchers by the dozens took part in the six-mile walk.

“We are very grateful,” she said. “March of Dimes’ research means everything to us. Without it, we would not have this little girl. She brightens our world.”

Kenn Young, Riverside County School Superintendent, said those who marched in support of babies have a simple goal: “We’re here for the children of the future,” he said.

“Young children are born every day with birth defects,” he said. “It takes early detection and in vitro treatment to stamp out birth defects. We are making headway.”

Yesly and Ricardo Mireles made the trip to Riverside from Glendora to march in memory of their daughter, Yanexi Ayannah Mireles, who was born Feb. 14 with a congenital birth defect and died on Easter. She never left the intensive care unit during her short life.

White doves were released to honor babies who did not survive birth defects
White doves were released to honor babies who did not survive birth defects.

“It never gets any easier,” Ricardo Mireles said. “But this march connects us to our daughter. We realize we are not alone. Anything that you can do helps.”

Perris City employees helped tabulate funds collected for the March for Babies. Those employees included Assistant City Manager Ron Carr, City Clerk Judy Haughney, Human Resources and Risk Manager Isabel Lugo, Capital Improvement Projects Manager Michael Morales, Assistant Director of Finance James Fructuoso,  Information Technology Supervisor Arturo Cervantes and Administrative Assistant II Tammy Bianco

Perris Mayor Busch praised the efforts of City staff to help make the March for Babies a success.

“Thanks to everybody who worked behind the scenes to make this a success,” he said. “That what makes these walks successful.”

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