As you can probably tell, celebrating birthdays is a big deal for us. It’s more than the usual courtesy most give others when they wish them a happy birthday. No, the importance of another year of life really holds deep meaning. It’s just as Rosie herself often says, “because life is a gift, we celebrate each moment.”
That moment when a parent first enters the NICU with their preemie, they often wonder if their new baby will see even their first birthday. Rosie and her husband Marcus were in that position more than a decade ago when their son Kaleb was born. And it was from that experience that they were inspired to start The Gift of Life. Recently, Kaleb celebrated his twelfth birthday, though he was given less than a 10 percent chance of survival at birth.
But our care about what goes on in the NICU isn’t just focused on what happens with the babies. In fact, most of our focus is on the parents. Often, celebrating their own birthday brings on a whole new meaning as they contemplate the life of their preemie – and indeed the preciousness of life at all. We support the parents in recognition that they need to be strong for the sake of their little one, their other family members, and themselves.
Rosie Moore, Wonder Woman
It takes a remarkable person to conceptualize, organize and operate a nonprofit organization such as ours. And Rosie Moore is a remarkable person – admittedly often misunderstood, but remarkable indeed.
You see, many have come to take her at face value. And on the surface what they see is someone just living the success life – a pageant queen, a PHD holder, a successful author. Rosie is often on radio and television shows. She’s made the cover of magazines and flies around the world making appearances while dressed in fine couture.
But here’s what most don’t see. Rosie is the mom of a preemie and her son, as brilliant and personable as he may be, has special needs. Rosie wasn’t a celebrity who started a nonprofit. Rosie isn’t someone who became a celebrity just because they wanted to be in the limelight. No, Rosie’s fame arose from the lengths she was and still is willing to go to raise awareness, not just for preemie birth, but for the parents’ side of the experience.
For sake of The Gift of Life, Rosie embarked upon a weight loss journey and succeeded. To get the story out about parents’ side of the NICU experience, she wrote and published a book called A Story of Faith. She networked with media to get attention for the organization and succeeded by getting interviews on radio shows and the news.
Rosie has written to countless celebrities and corporations in the hopes of gaining sponsorship and support for The Gift of Life. And it was for The Gift of Life that she entered her first pageant (and subsequent pageants) and won.
Her competitive, focused, achievement-minded attitude is rooted specifically and unmovably in her passion to help preemie parents, the ones that call, write, and email us every day to share their heart-wrenching stories and ask for help – and the ones whose position she and her family was in not all that long ago. Each one seems to fuel Rosie’s fire that much more. She often stays up on the phone with them until 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, even if she has to get up early the next day. They’re in the NICU, they’re frantic, and Rosie is there to soothe.
To many, Rosie’s success seems to come easy. To us that know, Rosie is anything but the extreme extrovert that she seems to be. Public speaking didn’t come easy. It wasn’t her nature to be glamour queen – make-up, high heels, and evening gowns aren’t really her style.
That’s one reason why the Just Rosie side of her personal brand became so important. She wanted the world to know that she is still her genuine, down-to-earth self. Rosie’s just a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops kind of gal, despite being the reigning Ms. World Universal Elite. The Just Rosie side, the one we know and love, all too often gets shaded from view by the brightness of this fast-rising star. But Rosie never for a second forgets why she’s doing this and neither do we.
Wonder Woman by day, Just Rosie by night and all for the sake of The Gift of Life.
Happy Birthday Rosie. It’s a deep thing, a remarkable thing to create an entire life outside of your comfort zone for the sake of uplifting others. It not only causes you to grow, but it also causes us all to grow. And as for me, I’m proud to call you friend.
Join us in celebrating Rosie’s birthday by donating to The Gift of Life.
It’s not an easy moment for any parent when they find out that their new baby will come into this world as a preemie. In fact, it can be absolutely terrifying. And the parents then have the not-always-easy job of staying on the side of hope. But what may seem and feel like a tragedy in the moment can grow into a major triumph that blesses countless others.
And so it goes with Miracle Kaleb. His premature birth has shaped the lives of countless others – at least several thousands that we know of – starting with his parents who are now the founders of The Gift of Life and reaching beyond to those preemies just now born and their families and more.
For us, today is a holiday. For it’s a great cause of celebration. For without Kaleb’s preemie birth The Gift of Life also would’ve never been born. Kaleb was born weighing only 1lb. 10 oz. His chance for survival looked bleak – even doctors didn’t think he’d make it out of the NICU. But look at him now.
Kaleb is now in middle school thriving and learning with his new teacher and peers!
And he has a very creative side to him. Inflatables and animatronics are his passion. He takes them apart and puts them together in a different way each time (which, as you may imagine, certainly keeps his parents amused). Considering how he started this life, it’s an understatement to say that his creativity is a blessing.
Where will Kaleb end up in the future? Who knows, but the sky’s the limit for him. For he has shown that, despite having a learning disability, he is smarter than a whip and thinks things through that will amaze you. Kaleb is very curious and always asks tons of questions.
He has not lost his joy for life or his smile. He is an infamous hugger (though with Covid we have had to limit his hugging strangers for his and others’ protection!). Not shy in the least, Kaleb is very well spoken, as also acknowledged by Mrs. Ings who always calls him “The Little Senator”!
We at The Gift of Life are thankful for the honor of having watched his development over the years. We look forward to where Birthday number 13 leads him!
If you or someone you know is a new preemie parent, it is our hope that Miracle Kaleb’s preemie success story inspires you. And over the years, we’ve experienced numerous preemie success stories. Take heart! Because we have witnessed it first hand, we know without a doubt that dreams do come true.
Happy Birthday Kaleb! You are well loved.
It’s funny how time flies. But in the moment when you’re in the NICU with your brand new preemie, it can seem to tick by so slowly. When you’re neck-deep in a situation, it can feel hopeless.
Today as we celebrate the 10th birthday of our very own miracle, Kaleb Moore we encourage all those who feel like they’re in hopeless situations to take heart. It may take courage to push forward, to look up, to have hope when there seems to be no reason to do so, but that courage will have a positive impact on your outcome, no matter what.
Ten years ago today, a preemie was born. It was a dire situation – to say it was an emergency would be an understatement. For the baby boy was just too small. He was too underdeveloped to survive. He weighed only a pound and an ounce. He was very fragile indeed.
Many medical professionals wanted to give up on him. It’s not that they didn’t care. They did. But their expertise and experience told them that this baby wasn’t meant to survive. They were so wrong.
Kaleb is remarkable, not just because of how his life began, but because of his zest for life. Being born prematurely hasn’t left him totally unaffected, but he’s an amazing person to know. And he has achieved so much because he just keeps on doing and learning and growing.
Kaleb is curious, rambunctious in the best way, and full of energy. And when you talk to him you so easily forget his story. You forget his humble beginnings. No, it doesn’t come to mind. But the moment it does, you’re shocked.
What an amazing guy Mr. Miracle Kaleb Moore is! His life is a testimony and every year on this day we not only celebrate, but releflect. Every year on this day to us is a call to look at our troubles and see that even the seemingly most hopeless situation can turn out to be the beginning of an amazing success story.
Happy Birthday Kaleb! You are well loved.
Our technology through the years has been advancing to provide parents with mentors that can support them through the telephone and through field visits in the hospital while the baby is in the NICU.
With the recent pandemic that has spread throughout the globe, more than ever the field of telehealth has become important.
This is the reason that The Gift of Life has decided to partner with Akos Connect to bring that emotional support in a secure and HIPAA compliant way for our NICU families.
Having a telehealth mentor allows parents the ability to follow up when they are not able to meet face to face. It also allows for a team approach to provide referrals to other service providers that can help you in the journey through the NICU and beyond.
One important time that parents benefit from our telehealth mentors is post-delivery when the baby first gets admitted to the NICU and just before being discharged home.
These are scary times for parents and knowing that they have a mentor to contact them and offer emotional support and referrals to other services when available, brings much needed comfort and a decrease in their stress level.
This year with this pandemic of COVID-19, our families have been struggling more due to the forced social isolation, financial struggles, and fear of the unknown outcomes.
Support the parents of preemies. Support The Gift of Life. Donate Now.
With family comes tradition. And those who cherish the practices that are passed along to them often do so because of how they make them feel. It’s like when the delightful aroma of fresh pine, apples and cinnamon or the mouthwatering flavor of turkey and stuffing reminds you not only of the holidays but of home and of childhood.
It’s these heartwarming, cherished, grounding kind of memories we desire each preemie to live to have. We want the preemie parents to have those sweet Christmas mornings where their once-one-pound child is now eagerly ripping the wrapping paper apart, the often under-appreciated, invaluable chance to give their family’s newest little blessing their first taste of pumpkin pie.
Traditions. Holidays. If you consider them rightly, birthdays are both. Birthdays are a gift at every age, from one to 100+. And in my humble opinion, the bigger the number, the greater the gift – the present, of course, being life. The Gift of Life.
But I’ve been proven wrong before. In fact, I’m finding my own position arguable just now because….
Because I remember them. I remember the preemies I saw in the NICU, how tiny their diapers; how fragile their paper-thin, translucent skin. Though every year of life, every birthday is a blessing, sometimes it’s that first one that can feel like the greatest gift of all.
At least to the parents that is.
And Marcus Moore is a proud dad who knows this a bit all too well. His son Kaleb was born a preemie and given seemingly-hopeless odds to survive.
But survive he did! What a blessing! What a miracle! And that Kaleb…what a personality! What a guy! We absolutely love and are inspired, motivated by just how much he absolutely loves life!
And life is a gift….
So today is Marcus Moore’s birthday and what gift shall we give him? For what does he ask?
Won’t you support The Gift of Life?
We’re a family and that has become our tradition. Our bond is not by blood but by the common valuing of life and deeply ingrained care for the smallest of us all and those who love them (aka the preemies and their families).
See, preemies are “the forgotten children” during times of tradition. Visit the hospital around Christmas and you’ll likely find tons of gifts and donations flowing to the children there – as long as they’re not on the NICU side that is.
But their families didn’t forget them. Neither do we. Nor do we forget their families. Spending any holiday in the NICU worrying over the life of your preemie is often one of the loneliest (and scariest) places to be.
And that’s just one reason why this year our September gala has a Christmas theme ( did I mention we’re having it at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort?). Let’s celebrate the warmth and love of family. It’s tradition. Let’s celebrate life.
Today, on Marcus Moore’s birthday, won’t you share in the love? Won’t you join in on the celebration? How about giving yourself a gift on his birthday, one that cheers his heart as well?
Buy yourself a ticket to the gala. And if you really want to celebrate, buy a table of 10 and fill it with your friends.
You see, each donation and every ticket sale allows us to do that much more for the preemies in the NICU. It allows us to fulfill our mission of providing them with hope, encouragement, love and support. It helps Marcus Moore, a founder, achieve what has long been his deep struggle and deepest heart’s desire to do.
And what better birthday present could there be than that?
Happy Birthday Marcus! From your team, friends, and family: The Gift of Life.