A new chapter for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund...
Shortly after establishing the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation 17 years ago, we were faced with a question: How should we raise money to support the fund? We knew we needed to create an event and we wanted it to include children. A friend suggested a swim event, and Swim for Melissa was born! Over the years, we’ve watched thousands of children, including our two daughters, take part in something that was so much bigger than them. Our hope is it helped form a giving spirit within each of them that they will carry the rest of their lives.
It’s hard for us to believe but, on June 1, Melissa would be turning 18 and making that shift from childhood into adulthood. As she would have made that life-changing transition, we feel that Melissa’s Fund is facing a transition, as well. Since the day we started Melissa’s Fund, we’ve made every decision with her at the forefront and, based on that, we believe the next step is clear. After much prayer and consideration, we feel it’s time for Melissa’s Fund to transition into the next phase of this journey and end Swim for Melissa. It feels like the right time to make this step as Ann Catherine, Melissa’s twin, will be leaving for college in August. We can’t imagine a Swim for Melissa without Ann Catherine and Lily Baker there with us, and we are beyond grateful that we’ve been allowed to experience this with our girls. What we want you to know is that Melissa’s Fund isn’t going away and neither is Miracle Bash (August 11 at Stovehouse). We hope you’ll make plans to support the cause through that event, especially if you’ve never attended.
When we first created Swim for Melissa, we couldn’t have imagined the impact it would have on our family and countless families across this region. We’ve poured our heart and soul into the event, and we hope it has been as meaningful to every family that participated as it has always been to ours. We are so proud of the money we’ve raised together and the equipment that has been provided. We are humbled by the lives that have been touched along the way. While we are saddened to know the event is ending, we are excited about what’s to come. If losing our daughter has taught us anything in life, it’s that while endings are painful, they also create meaningful beginnings where God can do more than we could hope or imagine. We’ve seen him do that time and time again through Melissa’s Fund. The mission of Melissa’s Fund won’t change – we will still work hard to provide critical equipment and program support for sick and premature babies in our Neonatal ICU and their families.
Thank you to each and every individual, business and organization that has supported Swim for Melissa by registering your child, donating or sponsoring. You’ll never know what your generosity and friendship have meant to our family over the years. We are incredibly grateful to you all, and hope you’ll join us as we chart a new course to help babies like our sweet Melissa.
Amy & Chris George
Co-founders, Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund