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Published on November 25th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Judi Gatson and Family Honored By March of Dimes

Pictured above from left; Ted Creech, AT&T, Judi Gatson, WIS-TV, News Anchor, Donita Todd, WIS-TV, General Manager and James “JT” Mclawhorn, President, Columbia Urban League. Photo by Calvin Reese, Millennium Magazine

judy

Pictured Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Dwayne Gatson, Judi Gatson, sons Aiden Kash and Nicholas Jax and Jasper Salmond

(COLUMBIA, SC.) —The March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter honored Mrs. Judi Gatson and the Gatson Family with the 2014 African American Achievement Award. Mrs. Gatson, her husband, retired Lieutenant Colonel, Dwayne Gatson, and sons Aiden Kash and Nicholas Jax received the award at the organization’s luncheon event recently at the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center.

A committee of past award recipients chose to honor Mrs. Gatson and her family for their outstanding contributions to the African American community and significant impact on the state of South Carolina, as well as their efforts to increase the awareness, understanding and investment of the African American community in the mission of the March of Dimes.

The Gatson family has a personal connection to the mission of the March of Dimes.

“Our family is honored to partner with the March of Dimes in the fight for stronger, healthier moms and babies,” Judi said. “We know the challenges families face in dealing with infant mortality and premature births, and want to do all we can to make sure every baby in South Carolina gets the healthy start in life they deserve.”

South Carolina has one of the highest premature birth rates in the country, with nearly 9,000 babies affected each year. Premature babies struggle to survive, and may face lifelong health consequences. November, is Prematurity Awareness Month and the March of Dimes hosts the African American Achievement Award to bring attention to the problem of premature birth.

African American babies are nearly twice as likely to be born prematurely as Caucasian babies and African American mothers have the highest rates of inadequate prenatal care compared to other maternal race categories. Infant mortality rates are twice as high for African American babies as for Caucasian babies. The African American Achievement Award was established in 2003 by the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes to bring awareness to these racial disparities and to recognize the commitment of those positively impacting the African American community.

Each year, the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues working to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate healthcare providers and women about having healthy babies.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visitmarchofdimes.org/southcarolina. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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