This previous weekend over six hundred folks from our community and across our state gathered for a cause. It was the noble cause of protecting women and children that drew over 600 supporters to the Stanton Groundbreaking Gala. A cause that is funded by the generosity of gracious donors and supported by countless volunteer hours. A cause that is being furthered by a united effort--an effort that is measured by the 118 babies that were born since our last gala, many of which would never have seen the light of day if not for the Hope on Harbor Lane.
Our theme this year was "Loving the Unexpected"--the inspiration of our clinic nurse Maria who gets to live these words every day of operation. On a weekly basis we get to love unexpected clients who come to us with unexpected pregnancies. And when they see the ultrasound image of their baby, these mothers love the unexpected too.
Sometimes the opportunity to love the unexpected presents itself in a most unexpected way.
Such was the case with Malinda Figuero who bravely sacrificed her life so her son, Christopher Ruben, could live. Her doctor told her that if she went through with her pregnancy either she would die or her baby would die or they would both die. But Malinda could not bring herself to abort her child no matter what the risks. The last week of January, Malinda suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to the hospital where she was placed on life support. Forty-eight hours later the doctors declared she was beyond the hope of medical recovery. At the family's request, Malinda was kept on life support to incubate Christopher Ruben who was only 21 weeks at the time. Even in death she continued to give life to her son. Stanton came alongside the family to help raise awareness, prayers, and financial support. On Super Bowl Sunday, we hosted a Prayer Vigil for Baby Christopher on the hospital property, and less than five hours later Baby Christopher Ruben was born in the Saint Alphonsus I.C.U. at 1 lb. 1 oz. with a cry that could be heard in the hallway to the surprise of the hospital staff. Stanton was blessed to honor Malinda's family at our gala and her legacy, Baby Christopher Ruben.
The gala of supporters heard from our president Brandi Swindell who outlined our local impact over the past year and cast a clear vision for the future. Founding board member, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, spoke of Stanton's unique role in the prolife movement, and Berrnadette Smyth, the director of Stanton Belfast, addressed the gala via video with praise for the international impact of Stanton Boise.
But the evening ended just as it had begun: by focusing on the unexpected that we get to love. Stanton mom after Stanton mom walked across the stage with a storyboard sharing testimony to how their lives were forever changed at Stanton. Many of them had their Stanton babies in tow, and some of our Stanton dads were there to support their family. It was a beautiful scene and a beautiful reminder of why we do what we do. Our labor of love is writing storyboards. We get a chance to alter the outcome of stories that seem destined to end in tragedy and hopelessness. On storyboards that begin with despair we write "HOPE", and where others see a mistake, we write "FUTURE".