Knights of Columbus help the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic obtain a 3-D sonogram machine
by Kara Hansen
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It was only a matter of time before the sonogram machine at Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic here broke down.
The machine had certainly paid its dues with thousands of sonograms and several repairs in its 17 years, as the equipment had come to the clinic second-hand when staff began providing sonograms in 2008.
As luck — or more accurately, providence — would have it, a brand-new 3-D sonogram machine was practically waiting in the wings.
“This is the most phenomenal gift we could have been given,” said Donna Kelsey, executive director of Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic. “It’s an amazing tool, and we are so blessed the Knights of Columbus picked us.”
Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic was hand-selected by the Knights of Columbus for a program in which the Knights assist crisis pregnancy centers in obtaining an ultrasound machine. If state-level Knights raise half the funds for a sonogram machine to be used at a crisis pregnancy center, the supreme (national) office will match it.
Several Knights toured Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic last November, and Kelsey said the clinic learned it was selected from among several other centers in January. From there the fundraising began.
“We sent out letters to 261 Knights of Columbus councils and they just really came through,” said Francis Drouhard, immediate past state deputy for the Knights of Columbus. “The councils were very generous, and many individuals donated as well.”
Drouhard said Knights of Columbus councils from all over the state made donations, and the response was immediate. The fundraising letter was sent out to local councils in mid-February and their half of the money was raised by May.
Having the new machine was a blessing in more ways than one, said Kelsey. It would have taken considerable time to raise funds for a new machine — time that many women facing crisis pregnancies do not have.
“You can do the work we do without a sonogram machine, but having it makes our work so much more effective,” she said. “Being able to see their babies makes such a huge difference in their lives, and it’s very crucial to every client that comes in. We could not function without it.”
Pregnant women who come into the clinic for help are now seeing life inside them in incredible detail. The 3-D sonogram machine picks up such subtleties as arm and leg buds in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, ringlets of hair, and the heart pumping blood in a baby’s body.
“The first day we had the machine we did a sonogram, and you could see the ripples in the amniotic fluid from the baby breathing,” said Kelsey. “You can see parts of the baby’s body so early and in such crisp detail. You just want to reach in and grab that baby and hug it.”
Staff at the clinic performed eight sonograms the first day the new machine was in use.
“Women are often in tears and in awe when they see their baby for the first time,” said Kelsey. “It’s unbelievable to know what their baby looks like before they are born.”
With the new equipment, a client will not only be able to see their unborn baby via ultrasound — they will also be able to take home a DVD with pictures. It’s that type of experience, said Kelsey, that can often create a turning point for a pregnant woman who comes in considering an abortion.
And that is exactly what the Knights of Columbus members are hoping for in helping the clinic acquire an ultrasound machine.
“We as the Knights of Columbus are really glad to be a small part of saving lives of children and babies,” said Drouhard. “The real workers are the individuals inside the pregnancy clinics, and we are glad to be able to help them do this important work.”
Clinic staff members are also hoping the ultrasound machine has an impact beyond just their clinic. Kelsey said they hope to work with other clinics and centers that do not have access to ultrasound equipment.
They are also considering the possibility of a mobile unit that could go to other clinics or even college campuses.
“We want to be able to work together so clients at other clinics can see the wonder of their child,” said Kelsey.
Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic began in 2006 as an initiative of Archbishop Joseph Naumann. The clinic serves people of all faiths and backgrounds.
For more information, visit the clinic’s donor Web site at: www.babiesatrisk.org, or the client Web site at: www.wyandottepregnancyclinic.org.