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'She's my true blessing'

A mother who chose to give birth joins hundreds on the Walk for Life.

By WAVENEY ANN MOORE
Published May 9, 2007


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Michelle Sisk will celebrate her first Mother's Day this weekend with her 10-month-old daughter, Felicia.

It'll be a festive occasion that almost wasn't. Sisk, 35, says she had every intention of having an abortion - until God stepped in.

"She's my true blessing from God and I tell her all the time, " Sisk said this week.

Sisk travels around the county to share the joys of motherhood at churches and Christian schools on behalf of the Pregnancy Center of Pinellas County, which provides free services to women dealing with unplanned pregnancies to discourage them from having abortions.

Sisk will join hundreds of other Pregnancy Center supporters Saturday for the nonprofit's annual Walk for Life, which aims to raise at least $400, 000.

Members from 110 Pinellas County churches are expected to participate in the 2-mile walk that will take place simultaneously from three sites: Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, Countryside Christian Center in Clearwater, and the Friendship Trail Bridge across Tampa Bay.

Organizers say the walk is meant as a celebration of life.

* * *

When Sisk found out she was pregnant, she panicked.

"I made an appointment with the abortion clinic the next day, " she said, but the doctor didn't see anything and she was told to return in a couple of weeks.

A visit to an obstetrician two weeks later showed a fetus.

"I know that God hid my baby that day" at the abortion clinic, said Sisk, who attends Calvary Chapel in Pinellas Park.

Sisk said the Pregnancy Center supported her when she needed it most.

* * *

Mother's Day weekend is an opportune time for the Walk for Life fundraiser, said Sol Pitchon, president and chief executive officer of New Life Solutions, the new name for the Christian agency that includes the Pregnancy Center.

A regional Planned Parenthood director had never heard of the Pregnancy Center, but stressed that the only decision his agency advocates is a woman's right to choose.

"We don't try to talk them into any option, " said Jeff Struchtemeyer, director of volunteer services for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

On Tuesday, Tampa Bay Planned Parenthood chapters offered free emergency contraception, commonly known as the morning-after pill.

In addition to abortion, Planned Parenthood locations offer counseling about options that include adoption and prenatal services, he said.

Gail Friedman-Barrett, who organizes the walk, stresses that it's not a protest against abortion.

"It's a way for the body of Christ to come together to celebrate life and help raise money, " she said.

The Walk for Life is Saturday. Call the Pregnancy Center of Pinellas County at 216-1410, ext. 400, or go to www.iwalkforlife.com.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at 892-2283 or moore@sptimes.com.

If you go

Walk for Life

Saturday from three sites. Call the Pregnancy Center of Pinellas County at 216-1410, ext. 400, or go to www.iwalkforlife.com.

[Last modified May 9, 2007, 08:26:38]


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