SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 26, 2013

Road race to raise funds to combat tetanus

DANVERS — Runners taking part in the 29th annual Kiwanis Club of Danvers 5K road race on Saturday will be joining an effort to beat maternal and neonatal tetanus around the world.

For the first time, proceeds from this race will go to The Eliminate Project, a global campaign aimed at eradicating the disease in 26 countries. It’s a disease newborn babies contract at birth because of poor hygiene.

“Being a mother and a woman, it is a no-brainer for us to help,” said Gayla Bartlett, president-elect of the Danvers club.

“It’s a global effort to save lives. Every nine minutes, a baby in this world dies from tetanus,” said Selectman Dan Bennett, who is coordinator of the project for Kiwanis.

“They are not born with it,” Bennett said of the babies. “They obtain it from unsanitary birthing practices.”

Newborns can suffer painful deaths as a result of the disease, he said. About 60,000 babies and a significant number of women die from the disease each year, according to The Eliminate Project’s website.

The disease is preventable, Bennett said.

“Mothers are inoculated with a series of three shots that cost 60 cents a shot,” Bennett said. The immunity is then passed on to babies.

The Kiwanis, and its partner, UNICEF, estimate the cost at $110 million to eradicate the disease in 26 countries.

“It’s effective; it’s just a matter of getting the funds for the inoculations to these mothers,” Bennett said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

IF YOU GO What: Kiwanis Club of Danvers 29th annual Eliminate 5K Road Race When: Saturday, 11 a.m.; registration and packet pickup, 10 a.m. Where: Registration, start and finish at Danvers High School, Cabot Road Awards: $250 to the first-place male and female finishers, awards given to first- and second-place male and female finishers in each division. Registration: $25. Online registration at www.racewire.com; search for the event or browse for featured events.

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