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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Woodland Hills

Walkers Raise $150,000 for March of Dimes


Traffic slowed around Warner Center on Thursday as about 2,500 walkers took to the streets to raise awareness about birth defects.

Employees from about 75 businesses participated in the annual Warner Walk, which raises funds for the March of Dimes.

The walkers, most in company T-shirts, took off from three spots in Warner Center. When it was over, they had raised about $150,000 that will go toward preventing birth defects, low birth weight and infant mortality, said Tom Smith, an event organizer.

Irene Pierce said it is important the public learn about birth defects.

"Though we're in the modern, 20th century, birth defects still happen," said Pierce, 52, of Cerritos. "We're doing our part to eradicate these diseases."

Julio Gramajo Jr. of Chatsworth said the walk united people behind a cause.

"It's important that we all get involved in community affairs, especially with babies, because they're the next generation" he said.

Gramajo, 40, also brought a boom box to enliven the festive atmosphere. "I'm encouraging this to become a rock walk," he joked.

Suzanne Agle said a drug funded by the March of Dimes cured her 8-year-old daughter, Katie, who was born premature and unable to breathe normally.

"Events like this bring people together and inform them," said Agle, 38, of Glendale. "It's easy for me to know; others have no personal connection and need to know."

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