Message About March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month, January 1982

December 9, 1981

Birth defects represent the nation's number one child health problem and in 1982 will strike one out of every twelve newborn infants with some form of mental or bodily damage.

Through the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, remarkable progress is being made in discovering the causes and preventing and treating birth defects in the newborn and the unborn.

During 1981, laboratory research and medical science produced new ways to treat birth defects in the mother's womb. Actual cases made medical history, and because of its funding and support, the March of Dimes shares in these accomplishments.

The work of the March of Dimes is made possible through the generosity of millions of our citizens and the dedicated efforts of tens of thousands of volunteers. This uniquely American volunteer spirit is a hallmark of the March of Dimes, for the people of our great nation accept personal responsibility for the health of children today and in the future.

I urge all Americans to observe January as March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month.

Ronald Reagan

Note: The President signed the message during an Oval Office ceremony where he greeted 1982 March of Dimes National Poster Child Richard T. Wagner and his family. Also attending the ceremony were James Roosevelt, trustee, and Charles L. Massey, president, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.