All life is a miracle. The lives of some miracles become major sources of inspiration that results in the creation of new things and has a positive impact on the world. Kaleb Moore’s life is one such source.
It was 10 years ago today that Kaleb was born. At birth, he weighed only 1lb. 10 oz. His outlook was bleak – at least according to the doctors who were there. According to their calculations, Kaleb only at a 5 percent chance of survival. His parents, Marcus and Rosie Moore, now founders of The Gift of Life were distraught but hopeful and rested deeply in their faith.
Kaleb had a trying and emotionally tumultuous six month stay in the NICU. The experience touched the hearts, minds, and spirits of his parents in more ways than just the concern for their son. As it turns out, they weren’t the only parents there.
Rosie and Marcus Moore witnessed the experiences of many preemies and their parents in the NICU. Regardless of the individual situation of each preemie, every parent there had something in common beyond the fact that their babies were there. All shared a gaping need for support that wasn’t being filled.
Generally speaking, NICU professionals do their best to provide the parents with emotional support. Many of the NICU staff, however, have never had a preemie of their own. Try as they might and love as they do, they cannot relate as deeply as the parents need. Plus, the staff’s focus has to remain on providing medical care to preemies, not comforting the parents.
And, as Rosie and Marcus soon learned, the unmet needs of the families of preemies are far more than that of a few consoling words and pats on the back. Many of the preemies blessed to graduate from NICU do so with special needs. Often, the special care a premature baby requires will be on-going for as long as they live.
Having a preemie can change a family’s life forever in more ways than if the child was born full term. For starters, the first year cost of having a preemie son or daughter averages $40,000 more than for full-term offspring. Many parents of preemies, moreover, must go through special training just to be able to care for their child. The many doctors visits and demanding routines can wreak havoc on the parent’s ability to produce an income.
Studies show that a shocking 1 in 5 parents of preemies have contemplated suicide. The experience of having a preemie has given many PTSD. And even for those who don’t develop PTSD or become suicidal, the emotional, financial, and physical demands of having a preemie still cause a myriad of mental health issues.
But we love them.
A preemie baby is a baby. Most premature births happen unexpectedly. The majority of expecting parents look forward to the birth of their child and hope, even assume, that he or she will be born healthy and sound. Moms and dads fall in love with their babies before they are born.
And the lives of the preemies who survive the NICU are well worth any sacrifice required to support them and help them develop into their best selves. Preemie are people. As is with all human beings, many enter the world and grow up to do some amazing things. Some of the most well-recognized, notable figures in our society were preemies at birth, including Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Sir Issac Newton, Stevie Wonder, Anna Pavlova, Pablo Picasso, and Wilma Rudolph.
And here at The Gift of Life, our notable celebrity preemie is “Miracle” Kaleb Moore. We absolutely love him. We love him not just because he survived. We love him for being the person we know him to be. Kaleb is a confident, outgoing and friendly guy who quickly captivates the hearts of most – despite and often due to his signature rambunctiousness, unmatched energy, and relentless curiosity.
“Miracle” Kaleb Moore is absolutely spectacular and that’s a fact.
It has been a wonder to watch him grow and we’re so thankful that he is still growing and developing. His life bears witness that medical outcome projections aren’t the final say. To be near Kaleb you can feel his love for life – if you’re willing. One look into his ever-bright eyes that seem to see right through to your soul and you’ll know that Kaleb is on this earth because he wants to be. And that is why I love him.
Happy 10th Birthday Kaleb! – From your friend Elisa Planellas, your parents, and The Gift of Life team.
As the executive director, I know well that The Gift of Life would not have come about without Kaleb. There are several nonprofits and charities that focus on championing the cause of preemies and addressing the root of premature birth, such as The March of Dimes, Miracle Babies, Graham’s Foundation, and Project Sweet Peas, The Gift of Life Corporation is aiming to go deeper and further in providing long-term support for the parents of preemies – because that’s what’s needed.
As a charity founded by preemie parents for preemie parents, we provide a growing list of support services that include but are not limited to care packages, case management, parent mentoring, grief support, financial support (as available), and NICU baby cuddlers. We serve families throughout the United States and have a small-but-growing support presence for the families in Africa. As of 2018, we’ve helped more than 4,000 preemie families since starting in 2014.
If you are a preemie parent or know one, please contact us for support. If you are a member of a similar organization, connect with us for collaborative projects. Business owners who are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor can learn more about our corporate sponsor program at CorporateSponsor.org. We are also accepting volunteers and welcome individual donors.
Thank you for helping us celebrate Miracle Kaleb Moore’s 10th birthday! If you’d like to witness his zesty personality for yourself, consider attending one of our events or joining The Gift of Life team.