By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
They were wearing sturdy sneakers! Comfortable footwear and a dedication to their mission were the keys to success for a family from Bay Ridge taking part in the March for Babies, the annual walk sponsored by the March of Dimes to raise funds to fight infant diseases.
John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and his wife Kerry Izzo Quaglione, assistant principal of PS 127, organized “Team Natalie,” a team named after their baby daughter, and walked the 3.5 mile route through Manhattan streets on April 28 with John’s sister Lauren Giannone, her husband Mike, and their baby daughter Sophia.
Both couples are grateful to have healthy babies and are concerned for the parents and children facing disease and developmental issues, Quaglione said.
“Team Natalie” raised $1,005 through small donations that came in from relatives and friends, according to Quaglione. “I’m very proud of what we were able for the March of Dimes and I’m grateful to everyone who made a donation,” he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The members of “Team Natalie” were part of a crowd of 8,000 participants in the march. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning served as the honorary chairman of the march. Quaglione said he got to meet the Super Bowl winning quarterback and thanked him for what he has done for the March of Dimes.
The 3.5 mile route began on Broadway and 65th Street, in front of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and ended on Madison Avenue and 26th Street.
“The walk was full of so much energy and the dedicated volunteers helped to cheer us on along the route,” Quaglione said.
The March of Dimes was founded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 to find a cure for polio. Over the years, the organization’s mission has evolved. In the late 1950’s, 20 years after it was founded, the March of Dimes began concentrating on preventing birth defects, according to the organization’s mission statement on its website. In the 1970’s the organization changed its focus again, this time dedicating itself to helping mothers with infants born pre-maturely.