TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Nov. 17th is World Prematurity Day and one Tuscaloosa business is teaming up with a sorority to help spread awareness about the serious issue. Both Hotel Indigo in Tuscaloosa and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated Beta Eta Zeta Chapter want people to take part in their purple rain challenge Tuesday night to bring awareness about premature births and that includes wearing purple.
Members are not only encouraging the community to light up their houses, businesses, and buildings purple to recognize prematurity awareness day, but they’ll be donating activity snack bags to families and blankets for NICU babies at the hospital.
COVID-19 can also pose a challenge to expecting families. Parents and babies usually remain together from the moment of birth, but safety measures taken by many hospitals due to the pandemic can lead to temporary separation instead.
Both groups hope to tackle the growing issue of babies dying or being born too soon." We want to make people aware in our community that premature births are still happening and at Hotel Indigo we want to support those causes," said Tina Jones, Director of Sales. “The purple rain challenge will focus on not only our sorority but the community showing support for families that have experienced pre-term birth,” said Mary Foster, March of Dimes representative and Zeta Phi Beta member.
This week the lookout rooftop at Hotel Indigo in downtown Tuscaloosa will also have specials to benefit the March of Dimes, an organization that raises money for prematurity awareness research and resources for parents.
Preterm births in the United states have increased for the fifth year in a row. A new March of Dimes “Preterm birth rate report card” gives the U.S. a “C-minus”, because about 10% of babies are born preterm. The numbers are even worse in Alabama.
This state received an “F” with a 12.5 % preterm birth rate. Minority babies are at the highest risk. In Alabama, the preterm birth rate among black women is 51% higher than the rate among all other women.