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Governor and U.S. Bank Recognize Prematurity Awareness Day

MILWAUKEE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 16, 2004--In response to the increasing rate of premature births and the lack of public awareness of this issue, Governor Doyle signed a Proclamation declaring Tuesday, November 16th as "Prematurity Awareness Day" in Wisconsin.

"We're proud to have the Governor's support of our efforts to raise awareness of this very important and critical public health issue," said Judge Tony Machi, state chairman of the Wisconsin Chapter of the March of Dimes. "Prematurity can affect anyone and the costs associated with it are high. Raising awareness of this problem is key to helping families reduce their risk, and get all babies off to a healthy start."

In downtown Milwaukee, the lights on top of the U.S. Bank building will be lit pink and blue tonight and over the next few weeks in recognition of Prematurity Awareness Day. At 42 stories high, the U.S. Bank building is the tallest building in the state. U.S. Bank is a statewide corporate partner of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.

Andy Randall, U.S. Bank Wisconsin president, said the bank's development network has spearheaded employee involvement in the March of Dimes' annual spring walk to raise both awareness and needed funds.

Prematurity is the leading cause of birth defects and newborn death, and the babies who survive often face serious lifelong health problems. According to recent polls, most Americans are unaware of the health problems prematurity presents, or that the rate of preterm birth has been steadily increasing in the nation. Over the last 20 years, the incidence of premature birth has increased by 29 percent and over 480,000 babies will be born premature this year in the United States. The following organizations recognize the need to address this growing health issue and have sponsored the March of Dimes national Prematurity Campaign: Johnson & Johnson, Pediatric Institute, CIGNA, Federal Express, American Baby Magazine, and Working Mother Magazine.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a five-year, $75 million campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth.

For more information on the March of Dimes or Prematurity Awareness Day, visit the March of Dimes web site at www.marchofdimes.com/wisconsin.

    CONTACT: March of Dimes
             Wisconsin Chapter
             Southeastern Division
             Erin Smith, 414-778-3500
             Toll Free 800-669-9255
             Fax 414-778-3503
             Website: www.marchofdimes.com

    SOURCE: U.S. Bank
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