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West Texas family grateful for NICU care ahead of Lubbock’s March for Babies

Every year since Alice was born, the Gillespie family has raised money for March of Dimes.
Every year since Alice was born, the Gillespie family has raised money for March of Dimes.(KCBD)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On Mother’s Day weekend, West Texas families will fight for the lives of children and mothers by marching for babies.

The annual March for Babies walk benefits March of Dimes, an organization working to promote healthy pregnancies and raise funds for research advancement and tool

It’s the first year the march is back in person since the pandemic began, and this family from Tulia is excited to be back.

Alice Gillespie was born six weeks early from a birth defect, congenital hydrocephalus, and as a result has developmental and intellectual disabilities. She had her first neurosurgery at one day old and has had four since. During one of those hospital stays, her mom Rebekah learned about March of Dimes and signed up for her first March for Babies walk.

“Being with people, walking alongside of them for a common cause, it is so empowering and uplifting and I want everyone to experience it,” Gillespie said.

The money raised during the walk goes to support West Texas families, through things like research, education and even meals for families in the NICU.

“Well moms will be the first to tell you, no matter how high-tech the care is, no matter where they’re cared for, moms and families remember how you make them feel,” Lisa Dillard, Director of Maternal Infant Health for the March of Dimes West Texas region, said.

Rebekah remembers feeling that support, not only during Alice’s 30 days in the NICU, but when her last child, Grace, was born preterm at nearly 36 weeks. With low oxygen and blood sugar levels, she was whisked away to the NICU just 30 minutes after she was born.

“We named her Grace, because she’s God’s grace to the family,” Gillespie said.

Rebekah’s first son John Micah was born full-term and healthy. She says the nine year old has grown into a strong, compassionate person, after helping his sister get through various hardships.

“It is difficult, it is challenging, but it is so rewarding. There is so much joy to be found,” she said.

Every year since Alice was born, Rebekah and her family have raised money for March of Dimes, marching in honor of her three children, and in support of all pregnancies, premature births and babies.

“You don’t have to do it alone. It is difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone and the people that you meet along the way is just a beautiful journey that I would never have met or connected with otherwise,” she said.

Rebekah says doctors told her family Alice wasn’t supposed to live past two years old. Now, at seven years old, she’s finally had more birthdays than brain surgeries.

The March for Babies is Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. at the American Windmill Museum. You can create or join a team on their website. You can also support Alice on her team website.

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