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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
What’s the best way to get the most enjoyment from the Christmas season? For some, it’s all about the presents. For others, it’s about spending time with loved ones. And if you’re anything like me, then it will be (at least slightly) about the break from routine pressures. But do any of these things capture the true pinnacle holiday enjoyment?
It does my heart well to send loved ones special greetings. And I can’t say I don’t take pleasure in getting a gift of two (or three). And having those precious extra moments to reflect mean the world to me, but my focus during Christmas and New Years isn’t to slack off but to capture opportunity. Of a truth, it’s a tradition for The Gift of Life team.
Because getting the most enjoyment out of the holiday season means to get down to it’s true meaning. It’s more than get-togethers and gifts. It’s more than well wishing. The holidays are about doing as much as you can to fill as much of the world with love as you can.
It’s about letting that love from others flow through you (especially if you’re prone to be a grump). It’s about being a source of love for those who need to be filled up. It’s about allowing yourself, even if you have to expend precious energy, to serve as an integral part of the outpouring and overflow.
The holiday season is always a busy time at The Gift of Life. This year is no different. In fact, it may prove one of the busiest Christmas and New Year seasons we’ve seen yet. Though many get overwhelmed this time of year, we find the rush is inspiring as we look forward to achieving great things in 2020.
Our annual Christmas teddy bear and preemie hat delivery to the NICU was a grand success. As for me, it was my first visit there. Now though for me, as mentioned, I tend to go into isolation and reflection mode around this time of year, I don’t think any greater insight could’ve been bestowed upon me than that which I found right there in the NICU.
Of all people, it was the receptionist that did it, as she was checking my ID and taking my picture for the visitor badge. We had just brought in all the gift bags and sat them around the large Christmas tree. The receptionist was in near tears.
“You see that rack behind me?” she said, “oh it’s always full with toy donations for the children… Nothing for the preemies, though. Rarely does anything ever goes to that side.”
“So what we do is needed?” I asked, shocked.
Normally, when I tell people about The Gift of Life and who I am in the organization and what we do they don’t cry.
Many don’t show any emotional response at all because they can’t relate. When someone’s life has been touched by premature birth, I can often tell before they speak up because of their response to our mission.
She didn’t tell me, but I’ll bet the receptionist has seen countless preemies and their families and come to know their stories. She’s one of us; a person with a heart for the tiniest of us all and those that love them.
Have you ever held a baby that could fit in the palm of your hand? Have you ever seen one up close – tubes and tape and all? I was given one of their diapers as a souvenir.
And while we were there we were able to introduce ourselves to a few of the preemie parents. All of them were exhausted. All welcomed our visit.
Like the receptionist and other hospital staff, like the much-needed smiles we inspired on the preemie parents’ faces that day, I’m thankful for The Gift of Life.
I’m thankful for the blessing of the opportunity and ability to extend love in a much needed area, to a group that often goes overlooked, especially during the holidays.
It was the experience of the isolation and need in the NICU that inspired Rosie and Marcus Moore to found our organization. And, however ironically fitting, Christmas season around here kicks off with Rosie’s birthday.
As Rosie most-notably always says, “Remember to dream because dreams do come true”.
And I say, “One person can make a difference” (though I think she said it first). Rosie proves every day what one person can do.
Since founding The Gift of Life, Rosie has become an author, speaker, mentor (especially to me), beauty queen, pageant coach, doula, and nurse consultant. She was already a mother, wedding planner, and passionate tap dancer. I, like many, am proud to call her friend.
And I have to confess we had a spectacular time celebrating her birthday this year.
How will You Transform Lives in 2020?
You can expect a lot of great things to be going on at The Gift of Life this year. Our goal is to raise the funds we need to both continue and expand our outreach operations. To this end, we’ve got a lot of great events planned for the soon-upon-us year. The biggest being our Black Tie Gala that’s set to take place at the Walt Disney Dolphin Resort.
You’re going to be there, right?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Gift of Life’s team
Birthday Post: The Gift of Life Team Celebrates Marcus Moore
The time has come for another birthday celebration here at the Gift of Life. For us today is all about Marcus Moore. It’s his birthday today and we are taking this moment to extend the opportunity to you to join in our celebration.
Happy Birthday Marcus!!!
“Because life is a gift we treasure each moment”
Birthdays are very important to us. While some get embarrassed as they advance in years because of their age, we recognize what a precious gift life really is. When a preemie is born and has to stay in the NICU, they have a higher chance than most of not getting to their first birthday. And for many the danger doesn’t disappear after they’ve been discharged.
Life is precious, whether you’re the product of a premature birth or not. For each year of life, there’s someone who didn’t make it that far, regardless of the cause. And that’s why we make it a point to celebrate birthdays.
Marcus Moore one of the founders of The Gift of Life. He is husband to Rosie Moore and dad to our own little celebrity “Miracle Kaleb”.
When Kaleb was born a preemie, Marcus gave up his job to stay home and take care of his son. Doctors did not give Kaleb a high chance of survival. They thought he wouldn’t live through the NICU, but today he’s a thriving and active 9 year old with plenty of personality and passion.
To us, Marcus is a guy who deserves to celebrate his birthday. One way you can help celebrate with him is to donate to our cause. Help The Gift of Life raise the funds needed to expand our operations and help more families.
It’s become a tradition here at The Gift of Life to celebrate the birthdays of our team. And, of course, Rosie Moore’s birthday could hardly be an exception! For those who don’t know, Rosie is our founder. She’s also the mother of our very own “Miracle” Kaleb Moore, the preemie who started it all – it’s still amazing to us that he’s now a just a few years from being a preteen! Rosie is also an author of children’s’ books and romance novels, Mrs. Michigan International, and is even a doula, having earned her doctorate in nursing – yup, that’s Dr. Rosie Moore to you! Rosie’s career as a motivational speaker is also on the rise.
Do you think she does enough? Too much? Well, we haven’t even begun to dig into her wedding planning business. Rosie’s not only an impressive, master wedding planner, but also travel agent. If Rosie plans a trip for you, rest assured it’ll be top notch! And, if you missed having her plan your wedding, maybe it’s time to renew your wedding vows!
What an amazing person. To us, Rosie Moore is a true inspiration. I mean, she really stays on her toes ;).
To the families we help, she’s a blessing. She’s a blessing to us and thanks to her we get to be a part of being a blessing to countless families right when they need a friend the most.
What gift could you give such a person as Rosie for her birthday? Rosie loves to give back. Her passion for The Gift of Life’s mission keeps her focused on the needs of the organization and the families it serves. The best gift to her is to help that mission succeed. This you can do either through a monetary gift or by donating your time. A simple social share or a note on your calendar to join one of our events are also ways to help further The Gift of Life.
We at The Gift of Life thank you for taking this moment to join us in celebrating Rosie’s birthday and hope to see you at our 2019 Black Tie Gala which takes place annually in September in Orlando (weather permitting!).