Giants Quarterback Eli Manning Among Those Spreading The Word On Premature Birth Research

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of people gathered Sunday for the March for Babies.

The annual event, held in many cities across the country, raises money for premature birth research, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.

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Little Matilda is so full of life and pretty soon she’s going to celebrate it with a birthday.

“She will be 3 years old in June, but technically she wasn’t supposed to be born until October,” said her grandmother, Kathy Ruehlman, who hails from Austin, Texas.

Matilda’s grandmother said she was born premature at just 1 pound, 8 ounces.

“She’s our amazing blessing, so we do this special walk. My daughter and I come from Texas because they live here in New York and we come from Texas and do this walk every year,” Ruehlman said.

March for Babies

Giants quarterback Eli Manning, center (wearing red), took part in the NYC March for Babies on April 29, 2018. (Photo: CBS2)

The family joined thousands at the New York City March for Babies, walking about three miles from Lincoln Center to Kips Bay.

The March of Dimes is behind the movement to improve babies’ health by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

“We want all moms to be strong and healthy and all babies to be born strong and healthy,” March for Babies family team specialist Lisa Koss said.

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The organization has been helping families for 80 years, hosting events like this all around the country.

Julissa Crespo of the Tremont section of the Bronx said she has a child that was born prematurely. CBS2’s DeAngelis asked her what she wants people to know.

“It’s the hardest thing I ever had to go through. With support and the donations it helps a lot,” Crespo said.

The movement also has continued support from New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who has been leading the march here for years. He said it holds meaning to him as a family man.

“When you go through three pregnancies and now nieces and nephews and everybody, you just understand the importance of going through having healthy pregnancies,” Manning said.

Taking the stage with Manning was CBS 2’s Otis Livingston.

All of the people on hand joined together in the fight to give babies a healthy start in life.

Sunday’s March for Babies in New York raised nearly $1.2 million. On Long Island, another March for Babies raised more than $500,000. CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan was on hand for the walk at Jones Beach State Park.

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For more information on the NYC March for Babies, please click here.