Emily Dzialo, a freshman at St. John in New York, and resident of Middlefield, was honored with the 2012 “Trevor Palonen Top Youth Walker Award” by the March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Spirit of Giving Celebration at the New Haven Lawn Club on February 16. The evening celebrated the Chapter’s volunteers, donors and sponsors, and honored 11 individuals as “2012 Volunteers of Excellence.” She also won the award in 2011.
Since a young age, the Dzialo family has made supporting the March of Dimes and its annual event, March for Babies, a family tradition, as Emily’s father Edward is a founding member of the Middletown March for Babies event. In 2012, Emily raised over $10,000, making her the top youth fundraiser in the state (ages 18 and younger), and was ranked #3 in the nation among youth. Since 2005, she has raised over $51,500 in support of the March of Dimes mission of stronger, healthier babies.
"When I was in 8th grade, I had the opportunity to visit a neonatal intensive care unit. It was that experience that truly motivated me to be a contributing volunteer for this organization. I am a huge advocate and supporter of the March of Dimes and its mission for healthy babies. I am so deeply honored to receive this award again this year,” said Dzialo.
The Top Youth Walker Award was established in 2006 after a special young man in Plainfield, CT - Trevor Palonen. For 12 years Trevor, with his family by his side, participated in March for Babies, then WalkAmerica, and since 1995 had been the top youth walker in the state. Sadly, Trevor passed away at age 16 in May 2006. Trevor’s spirit and will to live continue to serve as an inspiration to all who knew him, and the March of Dimes will always remember Trevor as a “hero for babies.”
Trevor’s parents, Pat and Arvid, also sent their congratulations to Emily, saying “we know Trevor is smiling down on you and is so proud of you as you receive the award in his name.”
In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life. Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive. Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects. About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education.
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, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.