For the first time, the Baltimore chapter of the March of Dimes Foundation is holding a second walk-a-thon in the same year to raise money.
According to James Donovan, the director of the Greater Baltimore Chapter, the organization has found it necessary to initiate a WalkAgain on Oct. 20 to make up for the low turnout in poor weather for the April 14.
Donovan said rain and temperatures in the mid-50s caused the April event to draw only 7,000 of the 12,000 walkers who registered. That slashed the organization's anticipated income in pledges from $950,000 to $560,000.
Donovan said the March of Dimes Foundation continues to need funds to effectively continue its research and education on preventing birth defects and infant mortality.
That work, officials said, is extremely vital in Baltimore, a city ranked third in the nation for infant mortality with a rate of 18 deaths per 1,000 births.
"It is nothing but a shame," said Charlie Edelin, a participant in the walk-a-thon for the past 10 years who estimates he has raised about $25,000 from pledges. "I don't understand how infant mortality can exist in this day and age.
"I will walk in the fall WalkAgain," he said. "I have to do my part in saving babies."
From the revenue generated from the fund-raiser, about $500,000 is distributed around the state for research and community-based medical services. About $300,000 to $400,000 goes to Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland for research, the organization reported.
For the second walk, the traditional 15-mile route has been reduced to six miles, starting and ending by the Canton Waterfront Park and covering most of Fells Point.
To register, call 752-7990.