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An All-Star March of Dimes Evening

April 21, 2010

THIS is the March of Dimes headquarters!!!Tonight was the Vendor Appreciation Celebration at the March of Dimes headquarters in White Plains, NY.  I just love going to the main office and seeing all of the people there.  They are so friendly and nice and were so excited to hear all about our travels these past months.

We were talking to some people in the front part of the office like Kathy Behrens, who is a March of Dimes National Trustee, works with the NBA, and has twins who are 3 years old and were born full-term and healthy!  Then Dina wanted to introduce us to someone behind us.  When Mom and I turned around we looked up and saw the tallest man we’ve ever seen with a big smile on his face, his hand stretched out in a warm greeting.  It was Dikembe Mutombo and he’s not only an NBA All-Star but he is also an Ambassador like us!  He has a Foundation to improve the health, education and quality of life for the people in his birthplace, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Shaking Dikembe's giant and caring hand.

Dikembe Motombo is the tallest, sweetest man I've ever met.

There is so much to say about him – from his amazing basketball career to the creation of his foundation to his incredible campaigns including inoculating 8.2 million children against polio in just two weeks despite civil unrest and failures of electricity. Dikembe is really helping to give back – he is a real superstar!

After my Mom and I spoke and shared our story, there was an auction of some sports things and autographed footballs.  It raised a lot of money and Kenny Albert, radio announcer for the NY Rangers and Fox’s field reporter for MLB (he just announced the 20-inning game last weekend!) was the auctioneer, and I got to meet him before and had so much fun talking to him.  He told me he was a preemie, too!  He was born three months early and weighed 1 pound 15 ounces.  And that was back in 1968.  Oops, I hope Kenny doesn’t mind that I just gave up his age!  Well, he’s really a great and funny person. 

So the first auction item was an autographed Eli Manning football and after a long bidding process, Dikembe ended up winning it at $1,100.  We all clapped and then he reached over to the microphone and said, “I’m giving this ball to Joshua.”  WOW!!!  My Mom almost dropped her water bottle and I couldn’t believe how much he paid for a football.  That was one of the coolest things that I’ve even seen and I gave Dikembe a high five.  He’s so very wonderful and the March of Dimes is so lucky to have people like him as a volunteer.

Hanging out with Kenny Albert and Richard Caster.

Then all of the vendors for March of Dimes and March for Babies got awards, too!  There was:

PBD Worldwide Fulfillment, of Alphretta, Georgia, Infocision, from Akron, Ohio.  Infocision is a long-time partner providing recruitment services for Mother’s March telemarketing.  12-year contributor, their list brokerage, Paradysz Matera and Company from New York.  Pep Direct, from Wilton, New Hampshire, who does the mailing labels and has “stuck” with March of Dimes for four years.  Blackbaud in Charleston, SC, provided special software project, Mikam an Inner Workings Co. in New York provides printing services for many projects and March for Babies materials. AmericaList, a division of Haines and Company, provides phone and mailing lists that are used in recruitment for the Mother’s March program.  Peeq Media in Long Island City NY provides printing services for projects.  ProfTech from Elmsford, New York provides office supplies and furniture.

I didn’t want to leave.  I was having so much fun playing with a mylar basketball balloon laughing with lots of different people, and smiling for lots of pictures.  When we were saying goodbye to everyone, a bunch of people from the March of Dimes stood up, clapped and cheered as we walked out.  I felt like a superstar, too!

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