The nesting instinct in soon-to-be mothers is something else to behold. In the matter of a few weeks, Becky had transformed her house from a bright pink girly place into a boy’s haven, completely childproofed and covered in baby blue. Her transition into life as a mother of two was just about complete.
Then everything changed. Becky was told at her 20 month checkup that baby Oakes had a severe heart defect, with little chance of survival. After the baby boy’s birth, Becky’s life didn’t transition to the home she had meticulously altered for the child; it was in an intensive care unit.
During the endless days there, she grew close with other parents of sick children. In the development of this community she realized that not everyone was as lucky as she was to have great health insurance and a husband with an understanding employer. Many of those families were struggling to meet even the most basic of needs, such as paying bills or buying groceries.
Without fully realizing it, and even as her own infant son struggled for his life, Becky and her outside-the-hospital friends began organizing small fundraisers. Those turned into bigger events, and within weeks Becky was filing the paperwork for Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation and taking applications for grants from across the nation.
A lifetime devoted to charity was never in her plans, but then again, neither was a sick baby boy. Within a matter of weeks, she found herself tirelessly devoted to both, her previous plans in life quickly placed aside.
Oakes would eventually succumb to his broken heart, but he had already managed to change hundreds of lives. Becky’s foundation continues to raise hundreds of thousands for needy families, and raise awareness of a brutal condition. Because of her efforts, many more people are aware that 1 in 100 children are born with heart defects.
Congenital heart defects kill more children than all juvenile cancers combined, yet cancer research receives five times more funding. Because of her love for a helpless infant and willingness to accept a life she never planned, Becky is narrowing that gap a little at a time.
If your life dramatically changed tomorrow, would you roll with it, or spend your time fighting it? Like Becky, there may be a calling out there that’s just waiting to sneak up on you, though hopefully yours won’t be forged through tragedy.
Becky kept her home baby-ready. Jagged edges have been covered, electrical sockets covered, and baby blue blankets waiting in an empty crib. The first two will come in handy, but not the third - she’s due to have a healthy baby girl early next year.