Sunday, October 11, 2009

The weekend to walk!

Although, I did not participate as Miss Florida USA, I did have the privilege of attending two other walk-a-thons this weekend.

Yesterday at 7am, I assisted my boyfriend (Dave for those who know him) at the Miami Heat booth at the Annual Domestic Violence Walk and Expo in North Miami Beach. Every person who pre-registered for the walk was given a Season Opener Miami Heat ticket for the Oct 28th home game. It was sweltering outside, but that did not stop people from attending this event. It was really neat to see so many people there and to hear there stories of survival. In the picture you can see posters in the background. All of them were created to send the message of Stop The Violence. It was a very powerful statement.

Today, I drove up to Jacksonville to be with a couple who is very close to my heart. James and Kim Antos entered my life when I won the title of Miss Volusia County USA 2009. Kim was my director and since then she has become a very close friend. Last fall, we celebrated the news that Kim and James were going to become first time parents. If you have ever met Kim and James, you would know that these two people have been together forever and were ready to bring a child into their loving family.

After 19 weeks of pregnancy, problems began to surface. Apparently the baby was experiencing seizures inside the womb which if you can image was incredible painful for Kim and detrimental to the baby. This continued on until Kim gave birth at 32 weeks. From what the doctors know, this is a very rare case with not a lot of case study work. There is nothing that Kim or James did wrong, genetics did not come into play; the doctor describes it as a fluke incident that if given enough time, Kim's body should be able to heal so she can have the opportunity to have a healthy child.

Now I shorten the story to the basic points, but you should know that Kim and James went from living in Ormond Beach, working full time, and arranging the house for a new baby to weekly doctor visits in Jacksonville and a daily fear of the unknown. Alexander was born on June 23, 2009 and passed on July 22, 2009. During that one month period, Kim and James stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Jacksonville and saw Alexander as often as they were allowed. He was in a very fragile state, still experiencing seizures.

At 3 weeks old and at 4 weeks old, the doctors took an MRI of Alexander's brain. Instead of seeing development, they saw the opposite. Alexander's brain was deteriorating at a rather quick pace and Kim and James were given two options. First option, understand that if Alexander lives he will be a vegetable his entire life unable to breathe without being attached to a machine or second, let him go. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but they decided to let him go. They never imagined that it would come down to this decision, but they truly felt that their child had endured enough pain in his 30 day life.

When Kim told me about the Wolfson Children's Hospital's Walk To Remember, I knew we needed to attend. Families gathered to remember their lost one for the short time that he or she was on this earth. There were personal messages written on purple and white balloons as well as banners that were carried throughout the walk. Everyone wore a yellow butterfly with the name of their child who had passed. Once we all reached the furthest point of the walk, there was a prayer, we listened to Over The Rainbow and the balloons were released. It was a afternoon of sadness but also of hope. My heart goes out to all the families. Kim and James are very thankful to the Ronald McDonald House and Wolfson Children Hospital for being so supportive during this incredibly difficult period in their life. If you would like to donate to the Wolfson Children's Hospital please visit

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