3 groups turned tragedy into new possibilities for Children’s of Alabama—you can do the same

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the organizers of the Baby Steps Memorial 5k + fun run
Baby Steps’ organizers with their families. Photo via Baby Steps Memorial Run 5Kk + 1 mile fun run’s Facebook page

Few things in this world are as heartbreaking as the illness, injury or loss of a child. And yet, for the people at Children’s of Alabama, this is part of their everyday life. Find out how three groups turned tragedy into new possibilities in fun and creative ways + how you can too.

1. The BAM Strong Memorial Golf Tournament

⬇️ watch this video ⬇️

Andy and Jenna Moore spent countless hours at Children’s of Alabama during their son Brayden’s two and a half years. Brayden always had a smile, a laugh, a fist bump or a high five for everyone. He was such a bright light that nurses would fight over who got to take care of him.

Brayden Andrew Moore
Brayden Andrew Moore always had a smile for everyone. Photo via The Moore Family

In September 2019, Andy decided to do a birthday fundraiser for Children’s. The initial goal was $200, and after only three days they had raised over $4000. Three departments that cared for Brayden—cardiology, nephrology and neurology—got the money.

Brayden’s legacy

Although Brayden Andrew Moore’s life ended on October 29, 2019, his legacy was just beginning.

When Andy and Jenna asked people to give to Children’s in honor of their son, aka “BAM,” donations began pouring in. The Moores wanted to offer support to families with few resources that they’d met at the hospital.

Children’s helped the Moores host the BAM Strong Memorial Golf Tournament. Before the tournament, which was at Greystone in August 2020, Andy thought if they got 18 teams it would be a home run. Within a couple of weeks of announcing the tournament, they had 32 teams with 128 players total signed up. In the end, they raised more than $65,000. 

People came together in a big way to honor the memory of a little boy who loved golf and always had a smile for everyone.

Learn more about the Moore family’s journey here.

You can donate to the Brayden Andrew Moore Fund at Children’s of Alabama. You can also ship new, unused children’s picture books directly to Children’s of Alabama Foundation, Attn: Grace Graffeo, 1600 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233.

2. Rotary District 6860: supporting the Critical Care Transport Team

If a critically ill or injured child needs to get to Children’s of Alabama from the Southeastern US, they can. Why? The Critical Care Transport Team can bring a specialized crew to get them. Rotary District 6860 has been a key partner in making sure the team has what they need.

The Critical Care Transport Team  is one of the the Children's of Alabama fundraising recipients

The partnership began in 2009. That year, the Inverness Rotary Club decided to adopt Critical Care Transport.

The first year, they raised $1,200 at a fundraiser at Otey’s in Crestline.

Boiling ‘n Bragging

Since then, they’ve held a shrimp boil every August called “Boiling ‘n Bragging.” It’s a big tailgate party right at the beginning of football season. There’s plenty of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn, Otey’s hamburgers and hot dogs for all.

In 2020, they raised over $80,000 with online fundraising instead of an in-person event, and have raised $1 million over 10+ years.

This year’s event, called “Fund a Need” was virtual. The aim of the event was to help buy items the team needed for their ambulances or helicopters, such as:

  • Helmets
  • Uniforms
  • IV pumps for different sizes of children

In previous years, they’ve been able to provide other key items, including:

  • Hydraulic gurneys to lift heavy children
  • Incubators for the helicopter and two ambulances

Want to get involved? Find out more about the Rotary – Critical Care Transport Partnership.

Or, if you have an idea for your own fundraiser, reach out to the Children’s of Alabama Foundation today.

3. Baby Steps Memorial Run

Scenes from the Baby Steps Memorial Run. Photos via Baby Steps

Back in 2008, Abby Nichols lost twin sons who were born at 22 weeks. Around the same time, a friend of hers lost her infant daughter. The two moms were grieving and trying to figure out something to do to keep the memory of their children going.

As they threw out different ideas to their Bunco group, they thought “let’s do a 5K.” Since neither of them had ever run a 5K, they had no idea what they were doing. But they knew they wanted to do something that would help with their grief.

They weren’t sure what to expect for their first year fundraiser. In spite of their lack of experience, in 2009, they raised $9,000 at the first Baby Steps 5K Memorial Run for the Amelia Center.

In 2020, they completed their 12th year with a virtual race, raising 20,000 with around half of the participants they have in a non-COVID year.

What is the Amelia Center?

Scenes from The Amelia Center. Photos via The Amelia Center

The Amelia Center provides family and individual counseling. Their goal: to help people heal from devastating losses. Sometimes they help parents who have lost an infant or even an adult child. They also help children and teens who have lost a sibling, parent, grandparent or close friend.

Support groups for children, teens, and parents are available as well. The Vision for The Amelia Center is that all grieving children, parents and families in the greater Birmingham region have access to a caring and compassionate environment that fosters hope and healing.

Abby Nichols shared her experience:

“At the hospital, after I delivered the twins, they sent us home with nothing. There was no information on grief. They said ‘plan your kids’ funeral and figure out how to navigate through life.’

I found the Amelia Center by accident. I didn’t want other parents to have that experience. I want them to know it’s out there for them.”

What is the Baby Steps 5K?

Baby Steps is one of the Children's of Alabama fundraising efforts
Baby Steps’ founders at the first race back in 2009. Photo via Baby Steps

“It’s about being there to support the families, and a place for each family to go to grieve the loss of your loved one. It could be a child you’ve lost or a grandparent. We’re here for everybody.”

In non-COVID times, you’ll find the following runs each fall at the Baby Steps Memorial Run:

  • 5K
  • 1-mile fun run

This year, they had a virtual distance challenge. Participants logged the distance they ran every day throughout September.
Each year, at the end of the race, they do a memorial piece with a song and a balloon or bubble release. This year, they had people submit videos and pictures (she will send that link).
Want to support Baby Steps’ fundraising efforts for the Amelia Center? Donate here. Follow the Baby Steps Memorial 5K and 1-mile Fun Run on Facebook or visit them at their website.

If you want to start your own fundraiser to support Children’s of Alabama, reach out to the Children’s of Alabama Foundation today.


Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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