Celebrities Help Raise Awareness; Landmarks Nationwide Light Up Purple to Honor Premature Babies

WHITE PLAINS, New York, – To honor the 1 in 10 babies in the United States born prematurely each year, prominent buildings and landmarks nationwide, including the Empire State Building in New York City, will be shining in purple light in November to observe Prematurity Awareness Month. (Spanish)

Celebrities and athletes will be raising their voices to educate about preterm birth, the leading cause of death among babies. These include television public service ads from:

Thalia, Latin Grammy Award winning recording artist, actress, and media personality, who serves as March of Dimes global ambassador in both English and Spanish.

Anne Geddes, renowned baby photographer, a volunteer ambassador for the March of Dimes, is featured in aglobal PSA and in a print PSA featuring her iconic image of a premature baby named Alfred.

Chef Maneet Chauhan, mother of a son born prematurely at 26 weeks, also stars in a global TV PSA.

Celine Dion, international singer, is featured in a global PSA in both English and French and a print PSA.

Hilary Duff, actress, singer and songwriter, speaks out in a mission PSA that is running nationwide.

In addition, Prematurity Awareness Month is being supported by the following volunteers among others:Gretchen Carlson, host of “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” on FOX News and author of Getting Real, and a member of the March of Dimes national Board of Trustees; Ally Brooke Hernandez, singer and member of Fifth Harmony, who was born three months premature; Allison Schmitt, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, who was born late preterm and low birthweight; Tyson Clabo, retired NFL offensive tackle, father of a premature baby born at 34 weeks, who volunteers for March of Dimes North Carolina chapter.

An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year and nearly one million of them do not survive their early birth. Although the United States has seen sustained improvement in its preterm birth rate, it has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country.

Other Prematurity Awareness Month lightings include:

  • Niagara Falls, NY and the Peace Bridge;
  • The Capital Wheel at National Harbor, MD;
  • University of California San Diego Hospital;
  • Pacific Science Center arches, Seattle, WA;
  • Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Chicago, IL;
  • Parthenon Building, Nashville, TN;
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ;
  • Gulf Tower Beacon, Pittsburgh, PA;
  • Vincennes University and the Student Union and Aquatic Center in Vincennes IN;
  • Bank of America Building, Fort Lauderdale, FL;
  • Miami Tower in Florida, famous round building designed by I.M. Pei;
  • Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA;
  • The Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, Hato Rey, Puero Rico;
  • Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center, Charlotte, NC.

November 17 will be recognized around the globe as the 5th annual World Prematurity Day (WPD). More information is available on Facebook: where families and volunteers can share stories and videos about babies born too soon. The page features an interactive world map showing the home place for each story told.

And by registering on Thunderclap.it through Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, you can arrange to designate a message to be posted on your social network to expand global awareness of premature birth. On Twitter, use hashtag #worldprematurityday to share in a 24-hour BuzzDay.

The March of Dimes Pledge Purple for Preemies online campaign asks individuals to commit to take action during November to help us raise awareness and fight premature birth – join at Pledge.marchofdimes.org.

On Nov. 17-18, the March of Dimes is sponsoring a national Prematurity Prevention Conference in Arlington, Virginia, to bring together a multidisciplinary group to discuss the known and unknown causes of preterm birth. There also will be state-level professional education programs across the country, as well as family events and gatherings.

Prematurity Awareness Month is supported by millions of individuals and by local corporate partners and national sponsor Anthem Foundation.

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