MORE than 500 people turned out to Lake Weeroona yesterday to Pound the Pavement for Prems.
The fund-raising and awareness walk started at 10am and was complimented by market stalls, a barbecue lunch, farm animals and a jumping castle.
After a high-energy warm up routine and balloon release, parents pushing prams, children on bikes and scooters, and groups of walkers and joggers completed their first lap around the lake.
Loddon Mallee Kids president Laura Campbell said the event was well-supported by the community.
“Saturday was World Prematurity Day so we chose to do Pound the Pavement for Prems the day after,” she said.
“On Saturday night we did the light-up of the lake in purple, with places all around the world lighting up in purple, in support of prems.”
Ms Campbell anticipated yesterday’s walk would raise about $10,000.
“It’s about creating awareness and raising money for the special care nurseries and our support group,” she said.
Loddon Mallee Kids ambassador Liz Murphy described Pound the Pavement for Prems as a “fantastic event”.
Ms Murphy attended the fund-raiser with her 10-year-old daughter Tiana.
“I’ve had three premature babies,” the Bendigo resident said.
“Two were born very premature – and they struggled and they passed away.
“That’s why the release of the balloons was so symbolic.
“My third child, Tiana, was also premie – she wanted to join the world at 20 weeks, but the doctors kept her in until 32 weeks.”
Ms Murphy said the first two years of Tiana’s life had been challenging.
“As a premature baby there were all these complications,” she said.
“And there were no groups like LMK when I had Tiana.
“It’s just a fantastic group.”