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Local resident "walks for his babies"

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Curry Andrews raising funds

By Priscilla Geissal
For the past 19 years, Curry Andrews of Fairfield Village has walked the yearly fund-raising course for what has been his favorite charity, The March of Dimes.
This year will be no different except that Curry will be one year older as he completes the six-mile course for what is being called the March for Babies.
As was the case last year, the event will be held on Saturday, April 28, at Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway at 4255 S.E. 58th Ave. Registration is at 7 a.m. with the walk/run to begin at 8 a.m.
The original “March of Dimes” was started during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in order to work toward finding a vaccine to prevent Infantile Paralysis (Polio) which afflicted Roosevelt and left him bound to a wheelchair.
Many of Roosevelt’s efforts were initiated during his treatment time at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. Being a native Georgian, I am one of many people who grew up knowing about the treatment that President Roosevelt received at Warm Springs.
We were always very proud of anything that we could do to help with the efforts to eradicate the dreaded disease. Our March of Dimes fund drive each year was a source of much pride as we filled specially prepared folders with dimes in little slots. Everyone wanted to help, and we all tried to be the first to completely fill the fund-raiser folders that most of us received at our schools.
I clearly remember the young girl in my neighborhood in Rome, Georgia, who spent many months in what was called an “Iron Lung” before she progressed to a wheelchair and then to the very recognizable leg braces and crutches. Thankfully, after many years of treatment, she overcame her illness; but all of us (her friends) knew how very hard her struggle was. She was a heroine to us.
After Dr. Jonas Salk created the miraculous vaccine to prevent the disease, the March of Dimes took on the cause of helping with premature births and the special problems that face those children as well as other problems for the very young.
Curry Andrews may well be the oldest person participating in this very worthwhile charity, but that will not deter him one bit. At the age of 93 ½, he shows no signs of slowing down as he pursues his yearly goal.
When he first started his yearly endeavor, the March of Dimes walk/run here in Ocala and Marion County was a full 12-mile course. Over the years, the leaders decided that it would be better to shorten the course to allow more walkers/runners to be able to complete the course. Curry Andrews has completed the course each of his 19 years whether the course was 12, 8, 7, or 6 miles in length. He said, “I will walk whatever they decide the course will be.”
Not everyone is as physically fit as one of our favorite Fairfield Village neighbors. His exceptional good health made him an appropriate candidate for heart valve replacement surgery in September of 2010. He followed that with the addition of a pacemaker in March 2011. I would love to be able to keep up with him as he sticks to his strategy that he has found to be successful each year.
I asked Curry what his plan is for the six-mile effort. He grinned and said, “I use the military method—180 steps per minute. It’s worked fine so far.” And those of us who find Curry’s method so impressive, we say, “If it ain’t broke—don’t fix it!”
I asked Curry if he knew how much money he has raised over the past 19 years.
He said that he has not kept up with exactly how much that has been, but he estimates that it is somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000. Last year his total was his best at just over $2700.
Never one to be idle, Curry still works part time at the Publix grocery store in Paddock Park, and he is proud to tell anyone that Publix is again one of the corporate sponsors for the March for Babies. Regularly after he completes his shift, he sets up his post at the entrance and welcomes donations from his friends and customers who recognize and appreciate his efforts. He keeps his little bowl of treats there to thank those who make donations.
All of us who know and love Curry encourage him to continue to do what he has done so well.
Again this year, this fine gentleman will walk so that babies who have difficult beginnings will be able to live long and successful lives like their benefactor, Curry Andrews.
If you would be willing to help Curry reach his monetary goal this year (when we all know that money is “tight” for most of us) please feel free to call me at 352-694-6251, and I will arrange to pick up your donation.
Please make checks out to the MARCH FOR BABIES, and I will pass it along to Curry Andrews.