The 1-mile, non-competitive, family-friendly walk starts in the zoo parking lot, winds throughout the exhibits and ends with an award ceremony near the carousel.
Walk for Babies was created in 2007 after co-founders Shelby and Sam Snellenberger’s daughter, Amelia, spent her first 26 days in the NICU. As a result of the extraordinary care Amelia received while at Akron Children’s, her family began Walk for Babies and set a fundraising goal of $1 million.
Seven years later, the event is halfway toward meeting that goal, raising more than $500,000 to date. Some of the money raised has been used to purchase privacy screens, iPads and special chairs designed to support skin-to-skin bonding, known as “kangaroo care,” between parents and infants.
“We are hopeful that the new medical building will also be supported by Walk for Babies to ensure we continue to provide important family-centered care,” said Sara Lundenberger, special events coordinator at Akron Children’s.
This year, the Snellenbergers, who reside in Kent, hope to raise $111,000.
More than 1,500 people are expected to attend the event, which features a raffle, refreshments, team acknowledgments, family-friendly activities and giveaways for the kids. Attendees can also bring new and gently used preemie and newborn clothes to donate to the NICU.
On-site registration begins at 8 a.m., and the walk starts at 9 a.m. To register or donate, visit walk4babies.com.
NICU Graduate Spotlight:
Child’s Name: Amelia Snellenberger
Length of NICU stay: 26 days
Reason for NICU stay: Amelia was born critically ill, even though she was full-term. Ultimately, no diagnosis was ever found, but Amelia turned out fine.
Current age: 8
Amelia’s favorite part of Walk for Babies: All of the kid’s activities and the zoo animals.
Team Name: The Panthers
Why do you give back and participate in Walk for Babies?: As a way to say thanks to the wonderful people at Akron Children’s Hospital.
How do you raise money: A couple of emails to our very long email contact list.
Advice for parents in the NICU now: Stay at the bedside as much as possible. Look, listen, and learn. Be an advocate for your children and share the responsibility of your child’s care.