Lessons in life

Published 7:13 am Thursday, October 30, 2008

By Staff
Fundraiser helpscenter continueits legacy of hope
Staff Writer
Faith was rewarded at the Carolina Pregnancy Center’s first Legacy of Life Gala held in Washington.
The gala, held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the First Free Will Baptist Church, served as a fundraiser for the center’s Washington office. It also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Washington office, once known as the Coastal Pregnancy Center.
Blake Honeycutt, executive director of the Carolina Pregnancy Center, said that during the Coastal Pregnancy Center’s early years, it struggled to find volunteers and funding.
In 2003, the Coastal Pregnancy Center merged with the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Greenville. The merger combined the “faithfulness of Washington with the leadership of Greenville,” said Honeycutt.
The nonprofit center in Washington costs approximately $25,000 a year to maintain, said Honeycutt. That amount does not cover administrative costs, she said.
Honeycutt said at one time the City of Washington provided funding that paid for approximately 80 percent of the costs to operate the Washington center, but that it is “time for the citizens to take ownership for the community.”
Among the center’s free services are pregnancy tests, maternal services, ultrasounds, peer counseling, parenting classes and post-abortion counseling.
Elizabeth Knox, a former client who attended the gala, said she can attest to the care and kindness offered by the center’s employees.
At 21 and unmarried, Knox discovered she was pregnant. Her baby’s father, Michael Knox, was preparing to ask for her hand in marriage when she gave him the news she was carrying his child, whom the couple would later name Lillie Brie Knox .
That news did not change his mind about marriage, but the mother-to-be’s first ultrasound resulted in the couple taking a close look at their relationship.
The doctor who performed the ultrasound told the couple their baby girl had an enlarged artery and a hole in her heart. He also told the couple their daughter had a chromosome disorder. The doctor told Knox that if she continued with her pregnancy she would risk a miscarriage. He recommend she have an abortion.
Knox said she rejected such talk, placing her faith in God and family. She prayed to God that her daughter would be born healthy and with a full head of hair.
After being born, Lillie lived six hours. Knox said Lillie will remain forever with her.
Wagner Fields, the gala’s keynote speaker, was emotional as she came to the stage as Knox stepped down.
She opened her speech by pointing at Knox and saying, “You, your husband and Lillie are the most amazing family I have seen in my whole life.”
Like Knox, Fields told a story about an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
Fields said that “picture-perfect girl” changed when she graduated from high school and left home to attend East Carolina University.
Then, Fields said, that girl met a young man who did care about her.
Then that young girl became pregnant, Fields said.
Then Fields revealed she was the young girl in her story.
With the help of the Carolina Pregnancy Center, Fields said, she realized that having a child could be a blessing and not a curse.
Fields said she worried about telling her family, especially her grandfather, J. G. “Choppy” Wagner, about her pregnancy. Fields waited for several weeks before telling her family she was pregnant.
Fields said the news shocked her boyfriend, but it didn’t bring about the end of the world, as she once feared. She and her boyfriend married. They have a son, Tanner Brian Fields.
Fields said that one day she wants Tanner to hear his parents’ story so he can understand what they went through before he was born.