Local mom chairs first fundraiser for Be Not Afraid
Susan Guilfoyle smiles when she talks about her son Aidan, "He was a beautiful baby."
In 2010, Aidan was diagnosed prenatally with Trisomy 18, a genetic condition which is most often lethal. He was born early, stillborn, on Aug. 1 of that year welcomed by his parent, and big brothers as well as extended family and friends.
"I will always remember the moment this picture was taken," she shares. "The room was full of people, but I was only really aware of him... To this day, I can feel the weight of him in my arms, his soft skin and his wispy hair."
Guilfoyle and her family were supported during her pregnancy and birth and for one year following Aidan's birth and death by Be Not Afraid (BNA). BNA is a local Catholic organization that provides comprehensive support for parents carrying to term following a prenatal diagnosis. Formerly a ministry of St. Mark Church in Huntersville, BNA has served the Diocese of Charlotte for three years with the blessing of Bishop Peter J. Jugis.
The organization's work here in Charlotte has been featured in a publication of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and is being replicated by several dioceses including the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of New York. In January of this year, BNA incorporated as a private non-profit.
"This is an exciting time for us at BNA," explains BNA board member Monica Rafie. "We have grown a lot in the last couple years in terms of scope beyond Charlotte, but one of the most important assets we take with us are the experiences we gained by way of our work in Charlotte and the parents we have served who decide to become peer ministers working with us."
Guilfoyle is one of those parents who has not only volunteered with BNA providing memorial gifts for BNA parents, but is currently serving on the BNA Board of Trustees, and is chairing BNA's first fundraiser, the BNA 5K Run for Life, Love and Hope scheduled for Oct. 13.
"I work with BNA because I can't imagine going through what we did with Aidan without having the support of this organization," Guilfoyle says. "My BNA peer ministers were the ones that understood when no one else did. I want to be that kind of support for the next parent."
The BNA 5K was her first endeavor as a BNA board member.
"I've always been very active. I love swimming, walking, running, bike riding, etc. I had recently started doing 5k races with my oldest son as something for us to do together," she explains. "It was after a race that I felt God nudge me to organize one as a fundraiser for BNA. I kept tucking that idea away because I didn't know the first thing about organizing a race and didn't think I could take it on, but God kept bringing it back."
St. Ann Church in Charlotte as well as two local companies, Nana's Soul Food Kitchen and Townsend Realty, and Vervemail (an email provider serving nonprofit organizations) are sponsoring the event, which will be held at Frank Liske Park in Cabarrus County.
"This will be a great family-oriented, pro-life event for Charlotte," says Rafie, "And what better time to be doing this than during Respect Life Month!"
— Tracy Winsor, special to the Catholic News Herald
Be Not Afraid's 5K Run for Life, Love and Hope will be held starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Frank Liske Park in Cabarrus County. To register, visit www.sportoften.com/events/eventDetails.cfm?pEventId=9353.
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy