The community joined the Buena Vista Pregnancy Center at Valley Fellowship Church to celebrate the human right to life during the annual Celebrate Life fundraiser on Sept. 8.
About 150 guests at the church enjoyed the many carnival games such as Flinging Chicken, Plinko, Skee-Ball and more, as well as face painting, cotton candy and balloon animals crafted by the talented Owen the Clown.
“It’s great to see the moms and the kids here and the volunteers here, and all these people who come together to give money so that the pregnancy center can continue to do what the pregnancy center does,” said Mitzi Norton, 4-year volunteer at the pregnancy center.
Norton is proud to be a part of the pregnancy center, seeing the moms and their babies and getting to help both. “I love seeing what God does to them and how God works in their lives… It’s wonderful.”
Likewise, pregnancy center assistant director Cindy McArthur enjoyed seeing the community come together for this event, and she is happy to be a part of the center’s “wonderful mission” in helping parents and their babies. “It’s a phenomenal organization,” she said.
Also at Celebrate Life, Malachi Little returned for a second year of performing magic tricks for the children present who sometimes exclaimed in surprise at the end of a trick.
The pregnancy center had initially asked Little to play music at last year’s Celebrate Life, and then they found out he also practices magic tricks. In addition to riding his bike during the event, Little was happy to perform for an audience.
“It’s been learning a lot about practicing stuff, but it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “I think the pregnancy center’s great. I love helping support them and I’m glad they invited me to help them.”
As this year’s Miracle Story speaker, Rinn O’Rourke told the crowd of her struggles last year in giving birth to her daughter, and how, despite complications, she chose life over abortion and stuck with her decision.
Her reward was a life spent with her new daughter, Maeve, also present at the fundraising event.
“This time last year, I was living in a hospital, so to see how far we’ve both come together is overwhelming with good feelings. There was a lot that went into that also, a lot of work and living day to day in the hospital, and when (Maeve) was in the NICU, living in there. To be free of all those things, to think that it’s almost a year past, it’s exciting. There are still a lot of heavy memories. It takes some time to kind of sit and realize what we both had gone through,” O’Rourke says.
Around 2:15 p.m., everyone moved outside to begin the fundraiser’s traditional walk, run and bike routes through town. Ominous clouds moved in from the west and thunder rolled over the mountains, but conditions remained dry until just before the last participants returned to the church.
As the weather raged outside, everyone stayed warm and cozy indoors while enjoying a lunch cooked and served by the Knights of Columbus.
“It’s pretty cool,” Sophia Lopez said of the whole event, attending her third year to join the walk.
Also attending for his third year was Matt Shepherd with his family. “We bring the kids out and we do the bike ride every year,” he said. “I think it’s a really good thing that people can come and express their thoughts on pro-life and anti-abortion, and just knowing there’re other options out there than abortion.”
“I think everybody had fun,” said Karol Flowers, pregnancy center director. “I think it was a smaller group, but everybody there said they had a good time, and they even missed the rain. A few got wet at the end, but God was good about keeping the rain away until the last person got back in, which was a miracle.”
Flowers loved seeing Owen the Clown return from Colorado Springs to entertain at another Celebrate Life and put his heart into his balloon crafting.
She was also very happy to have the new professional face painter, Wendy Garcia, who donated her time for the event along with the Knights of Columbus for providing another great meal for the fundraiser.
“I love that our speaker was one of our clients and loved the miracle of her baby. Even when they said all those things would be wrong with it, nothing was wrong,” Flowers added.