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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Signature Chefs Auction returns to Huntsville this Thursday, raising money for the March of Dimes.

It’s a fun evening at the Stone Event Center at Campus No. 805, featuring a culinary showcase by some the area’s top chefs. WHNT News 19 is a proud sponsor.

Organizers say “each tasting is thoughtfully created to tantalize the palette of even the savviest ‘foodie’ and highlight the chef’s unique and exceptional talents.”

The party also includes entertainment and auction items to tempt every interest.

The annual event is an important fundraiser for the local March of Dimes chapter. Since 1938, the organization has been funding research and education to give every baby a fighting chance.

Sadly, there is still much work to be done in Alabama. The most recent data shows an estimated 500 babies die each year in the state. Prematurity and birth defects are the most common causes.

While the numbers are troubling, they are more than just statistics. Each one represents a tiny life lost. The grief of a family.

The Lilienthal family of Madison County knows that pain of loss. On June 5th, 2009, William Jackson Lilienthal was born.

But his parents, Morris and Shannon Lilienthal, would have only a short time to shower their first-born with love.

Morris Lilienthal says, “(Will) was born with a cluster of abnormalities and birth defects and sadly passed away a few days later.”

In 2013, the couple – now joined by Will’s younger brother, Wyatt – formed “Team Will.” Since then, the team has walked annual in the March for Babies, another March of Dimes fundraiser.

And you can look for them at the 2017 Signature Chefs Auction.

“We wanted to do something to honor (Will) and give back and this was a way we could do both and try to help others so they don’t go through the pain we went through,” Morris says.

And Shannon Lilienthal is confident that one day, babies with Will’s condition will not only survive but thrive.

“That’s what we’re pushing for. That’s what the March of Dimes wants and that’s certainly what we would like to see.”

For tickets to the 2017 Signature Chefs Auction or more information, click here.