Every year, nearly half a million babies are born too soon in the United States. Our countryís premature birth rate has risen by 36 percent over the last 25 years. Thatís serious cause for concern. Premature birth costs more than $26 billion a year and takes a high toll on families. Babies born just a few weeks early are at risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities. Premature birth<http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission/prematurity.html>is the number 1 killer of newborns. The March of Dimes is the biggest non profit organization dedicated to prevent premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality though fundraising, advocacy, and research. Since abolishing polio, the foundation has moved its focus to premature birth and November is Prematurity Awareness Month, when the March of Dimes focuses the nation's attention on premature birth. November 17 marks <http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission/prematurity_wpd.html>World Prematurity Day, and the March of Dimes Collegiate council at UMD will be hosting several events to highlight this important cause and to raise funds, so that one day all babies are born healthy. If you are interested in helping out, and/or a leadership position, please visit www.marchofdimesumd.com and email [log in to unmask] for more information. Join us in the fight against premature birth!