Every year Rosie and Marcus Moore founders of The Gift of Life, take November 17 World Prematurity Day as a day to remember their little miracle Kaleb that was born 13 weeks early at 27 weeks, weighing only 1lb 10oz and 12 inches long. They remember the almost 6 months that he lived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) growing, having medical issues, and hanging on to every breath, wondering if it would be his last one. They cried, they prayed, and lost sleep for months and even years after he went home. At birth, he was only given a 5% chance of survival, while Rosie, hung on for life as well after the emergency c-section. Marcus was at a loss with his only child possibly not making it, the love of his life in serious condition following the surgery. He clung to God, but also to the song He’s My Son by Mark Schultz. He prayed those words, he shouted, God can you hear me. Somedays there was silence and the emotions overcame him because he could not stand another day going to see his son suffering.
As Rosie got better, his spirits were lifted through her encouragement, that God would not provide him a son to take him away. He grew stronger each day until the day he finally came home. This past September, The Gift of Life held their 5th annual charity gala and Rosie decided that she would put together an assimilation of what life in the NICU was like for parents. Marcus and Tisha were to perform in the assimilation together, but due to the unexpected hurricane Tisha, Mrs. Virginia International, mother of preemies herself, was not able to get out to Orlando. But because Orlando has a huge heart for charity, Karen Shriner, professional actress, and singer stepped into the role 2 days before the event and evoked emotion along with Marcus from the audience.
See some of the remarks from the guests:
“I was overtaken with emotion, I could not stop crying.”
” I already knew the story because I went through it with Marcus and Rosie, but seeing the show tonight, brought me back to that moment and I cried like a baby.”
“I never knew that parents endured these emotions.”
“I was scheduled to work and did not know that my job today was involving an event for premature babies, it brought me back to when my daughter was born 14 yrs ago, I could not stop crying and I am supposed to be working the event.”
The list went on of people sharing their emotions.
The assimilation started with founder Rosie Moore saying:
“Imagine your baby being born 13 weeks early, weighing 1lb 10oz and fitting in the palm of your hand.”
From there, The NICU awareness video played:
Then the assimilation with Karen Shriner and Marcus Moore started to the song He’s My Son” by Mark Schultz. It showed the daily fears, tears, struggles, emotions of two parents while their baby was in the NICU. That is the story of Rosie and Marcus. Florida Hospital partnered with The Gift of Life to sponsor the Isolette similar to the one little Kaleb was in when he stayed in the NICU.
Many times Rosie would be alone in the room not wanting to go home while Marcus would go to the chapel or on the other side of the room praying as Rosie hunched over the isolette still healing from her surgery, weary from lack of sleep, and hurting to see her son lying in an isolette connected to wires, IV’s, breathing machines, coding frequently setting off alarms. In this assimilation that is what Karen and Marcus are doing assimilating those moments in the NICU.
They share this story with you today not so that you can feel sorry for them or any other preemie parent but so that they can raise awareness of what is happening with preemie parents when they are in the NICU. These emotions are real and painful.
The Gift of Life needs your help, they can’t do this alone, it takes a village of volunteers, board members, and financial support to reach as many families as they can.
I gave birth to Kaleb, but he birthed me into God’s purpose. Did you ever ask yourself what would my life look like if it turned out a different way? Many times I asked myself that question as my son was fighting for his life with a 5% chance of survival at birth. Kaleb was born prematurely 13 weeks early, weighing 1lb 10 oz, 12 inches long and fitting in the palm of my hand. That is not a story that you wish to hear from anyone. But day in and day out 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely. Some for health reasons on the part of the mother, the baby’s health, and some it is unknown. We struggle as parents wondering what we did wrong, how could we have avoided delivering early until we are blaming ourselves for it. Today I am here to tell you as a surviving mother of a premature baby that premature birth happens, it is not prejudiced. Premature birth affects all races, socioeconomic status, ages, and women all over the world.
When my son was born, I wanted to hide and not talk to anyone, but a wise woman pulled me out of my isolation and had me sharing my story before I could blink. She was the vehicle to make me see premature birth in a different light; a light that would make me care about others even though I was hurting. She encouraged me to go on and live with my son because he was a miracle.
Today he is a happy little boy. He is 9 years old and just full of life. The road here was not easy, but the journey to going home from the NICU was priceless. Join me as we wish our happy little miracle, Kaleb, a Happy Birthday!
In the words of director Andrew Stanton, “make me care.” By saying this to you, it is simple, a great story will make you care. Here at The Gift of Life, we have many stories, some that will make you laugh, some that will make you cry, and some that will make you feel good that you listened to it. These stories are what bring donations, volunteers, and sponsors because every day it is something new and your help can make a difference!
Eight years ago today a miracle was born, our son Kaleb Moore. He is the reason that the Gift of Life was founded. As parents, Marcus and I struggled with the thought of what would happen to our little baby if he did not make it.
The chance of survival was 5%. We both had a lot of faith that if God brought us this baby, that He would help him survive. Five and a half months in the NICU gave us a chance to think and see how other parents handled the premature birth of their baby. This is when we realized that we needed to do something to help others.
As I was waiting one day to wash my hands before entering the NICU, I started to watch the parents ahead of me. They had a solemn look on their faces and a look of worry. When it was Marcus’ turn, I noticed that he had that same look as the parents ahead of me. My turn came up to wash my hands and as I washed my hands, I looked up in the mirror and besides the tired eyes that stared back at me, I noticed something. I had that same solemn, sad, and worried face that the other parents had, “traumanicumized” as I call it.
I thought at that moment, we have been here 60 days and we do not know what is ahead for us, I can’t live my life in worry and not have faith. I asked myself what can I do, I would be the blind leading the blind.
I spoke with Marcus and we decided that we would spread cheer during the Christmas season to help us feel better. We started out with cookies for all the NICU units at our hospital as well as the labor and delivery unit and the high risk antepartum and postpartum unit. We thought that would cheer the nurses up, but started to think further as we were thinking of returning the following year. We, the parents, are the ones in need of support, so how do we make someone feel better? The cookies then became a part of our Christmas delivery until 2012 when we met some senior citizens who knitted bears. This started the Christmas bear deliveries.
From there, The Gift of Life was born and started delivering care packages on admission and discharge to the NICU with the help of their corporate partners at Enfamil, Aloma Printing, and Pampers. Today we are delivering packages all over the United States when they are requested by the parents in the NICU. Our goal is to one day reach every NICU in the United Staes from day one that the baby is admitted there.
Today help us celebrate Kaleb’s birthday with well wishes for him. If you are able to make a donation on his birthday, all donations go to help support our preemie mentor program and care package distribution all across the United States.
A Letter to Kaleb…
You were chosen by God to be on this earth, may this day be full of fun and exciting things today. You are a miracle and you will do great things in life. You are The Gift of Life’s Biggest ambassador, a living testimony that test and trials can be turned in to testimonies to encourage others. We love you so much.
With all the Christmas rush of gifts, parties, dinners and last minute shopping, it is a wonder that we can all remain sane trying to get everything organized. But for some people, none of this excitement will be fulfilled because they are dealing with something that has taken a much larger priority. Parents that have babies born premature in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) don’t get an opportunity to celebrate Christmas as you or I would because their baby is struggling to survive in the NICU.
Imagine that the greatest joy of celebrating your baby’s first Christmas and you have to celebrate it in the NICU. This is why the Christmas Bear delivery to NICU’s in Central Florida started. The Gift of Life delivers Christmas bears that are knitted by the senior citizens of The Good Samaritan Village every year so that we can bring a little cheer to each and every parent and let them know that someone is thinking about them as their baby is recuperating. The Gift of Life also provided knitted Santa hats for the babies to wear on Christmas Day.
Getting the bears and hats ready:
This year The Gift of Life was able to donate over 150 bears to the NICU at Florida Hospital, a few parents at Winnie Palmer, parents staying at Ronald McDonald House with babies in the Winnie Palmer NICU, and to a few NICU parents in the state of Washington, Virginia, New Jersey, California, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio. We were also able to donate this year over 600 Care packages to families in the NICU’s and those staying at Ronald McDonald Houses and individual families asking for support across the country. We can only do this through the donations of our sponsors and donations that come in to help with the packages and postage to send out the care packages. We were also able to donate this year over 600 Care packages to families in the NICU’s and those staying at Ronald McDonald Houses and individual families asking for support across the country.
Words from a preemie parent:
My son Emerson is a current patient at Florida hospital in the NICU. We received your teddy bear and it brightened our day.
Thank you so much for your kindness during this difficult time.
Delivering Bears and Hats to the Florida Hospital NICU
Delivering Hats and Bears to Parents at Winnie Palmer NICU
Delivering Hats and Bears to Ronald McDonald House for parents of preemies who are at Winnie Palmer NICU.
Watch as we deliver to Florida Hospital NICU the Love Bears this year. Celebrity singer Jody McBrayer, dedicated this special song to our families when he sang at our Charity Christmas gala this past year.
A big thank you to our volunteers Keitra Robinson, Jackie Pettit, Marcus Moore and Child Life Specialist Summer Bernath and our digital storyteller Bruce Reynolds.
A big thank you to Jody McBrayer for coming t our annual Gift of Life Charity Gala and dedcating this song to the babies.
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Today is November 17, 2015, World Prematurity Day. It is the day that is selected to raise awareness about the number 1 killer of infants. According to the World Health Organization in the United States alone, 517, 400 premature births occur every year. Besides maternal illness or high blood pressure, diabetes, sometimes it is unknown why babies are born prematurely.
Visit their website for more information: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/
The Gift of Life was founded by Rosie and Marcus Moore after having a premature baby of their own. Kaleb was born at 1lb and 10 oz. He was born at 27 weeks and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 5 months. What parents Rosie and Marcus did not know, was that besides Rosie being in danger due to the stroke level blood pressure she had and Kaleb suffering internally if he was not taken out, both of them could have died.
Two doctors worked together to save both their lives, Dr Walker( OB) and Dr Bernstein( neonatologist). After the delivery when Kaleb came home, she took him to her OB appt, to show Dr Walker how he was doing. She was told Dr Walker was no longer there and he no longer was doing obstetrics. Rosie thought that was odd, but did not think of anything of it. This year when Rosie went to her yearly check up, another doctor was there of the seven they had. He asked about the pregnancy and when he asked about Kaleb and she shared his age and weight, the doctor said, “you are the one.” Rosie Moore asked what was he speaking of. He stated that Dr Walker left right after Kaleb was born because of the overwhelming emergency of the delivery. One can only imagine the emotions going through his mind.
What Dr Walker may not have known, is that on October 13, 2009, he saved two lives of a mother and son. He may have joked with Rosie telling her when they met the day before at the hospital, that one deceleration( an episode when the baby’s heart rate drops) and he was out, because this kid was going to Harvard. Rosie remembers that day and laughs today saying, ” I should have gotten that in writing.” Regardless, that quiet morning while she slept, Kaleb got in trouble, his breathing decreased and he had to come out. It was like a movie in the ER, doors flying open, codes being called, doctors on standby, nurses rushing. But within 15 minutes, baby Kaleb was out. Not the typical way a parent expects a child by emergency crash c-section.
Today, on World Prematurity Day, there is someone who you may know that is premature or had a baby that was. Help The Gift of Life raise awareness about premature births. Having a baby should be a normal process, but for some, it is not. Let’s band together as a community world-wide and give support to these parents who are having babies before time. These babies and parents did not ask for their baby to come early, so while this happens, lend emotional and financial support.
Premature babies can be our future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, teachers, engineers, actors dancers, mothers , fathers, and any profession they choose. Someone gave them a chance, will you? Visit our website to see how you can become involved www.thegiftoflife27.org