Tragedy struck the Nicholas family in 2008 when they miscarried their twin sons. Grief-stricken, mom Abby Nicholas went to the Amelia Center at Children’s of Alabama for help. The center provides free professional counseling for parents and grandparents who have suffered the loss of a child of any age ranging from pregnancy loss through adulthood. The non-profit program also provides a safe place for children grieving the loss of a loved one- giving them ways to creatively express feelings through art and play. The Amelia Center was such a catalyst in the Nicholas family’s healing process they began to look for ways to give back to the organization. Along with the Hodge family, who also benefited from Amelia Center services, they founded the Baby Steps Memorial Run (5K and 1 mile fun run). Nicholas says organizing this fundraiser for the past 8 years has given her purpose through her grief. Though she has never run a 5k and doesn’t plan to anytime soon, the event has become an integral part of her life. Every year, she sees something good come from her tragedy.
In recent years, race organizers began taking name submissions of loved ones lost and adding them to yard signs. As participants run the course, they pass by the names of these individuals. Nicholas sees this as a way to solidify that the annual fundraising event goes much deeper than medals and record times. Those who participate in the race—volunteers, runners, and onlookers alike—gather in memoriam and the race is a celebration of wonderful lives that have been lived and of healing made possible in part by the Amelia Center. Nicholas credits the race’s growing popularity to the tireless efforts of volunteers- many of whom have walked a similar grief journey as her own family and have together found the race to be a part of their healing process. “We are here by God’s grace and He’s allowed us to get this far,” says Nicholas.
Be a part of this extraordinary event on September 30 at Tannehill State Park in McCalla. Learn more and sigh up at www.babystepsal.com. For more details on services offered by the Amelia Center, visit www.childrensal.org/amelia-center.