NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Thousands of people broke out their walking shoes for a good cause on Sunday.

The day was off to a chilly start, but once things warmed up it was a beautiful morning for the March of Dimes’ March For Babies event on the Upper West Side, CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported.

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More than 6,000 people put their best foot forward, helping to raise millions of dollars to help prevent premature births and infant mortality, CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported.

“Our goal is to raise $3 million and to make a huge difference. And hopefully one day there will be no more premature births,” said Hallie Golden, of March Of Dimes’ New York Division.

Volunteer Jennifer Ort told Murdock that she was walking for her son and his wife who lost their daughter Abigail after only five weeks of life.

“I really became extremely involved with the March of Dimes at that time, just trying to put the word out there that the March of Dimes is an organization that helps babies to survive,” Ort said.

CBS 2’s John Elliot emceed Sunday’s event, sharing the stage with an array of beautiful, healthy kids who were all born prematurely.

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Among them was this year’s March of Dimes mission ambassador Daphne Hood, who was born 14 weeks premature.

“She’s wonderful. She’s 2 and a half years old. She was born weighing 2 pounds, 1 ounce,” said Daphne’s mother, Greta. “It’s a great feeling to walk with all those people and see all those children who were born so premature and are now doing well.”

Among the thousands of walkers and supporters of the cause was another familiar face, celebrity chairman and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

“Having two kids myself you really understand the importance of having healthy babies,” Manning said.

This was the first year that text messaging was used to raise funds. Anyone unable to make it to the event can text donations by texting ‘BABIES’ to 41444.

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