Mandy Standiford's Story
As a parent, the day you give birth to your child is a day you never forget. For my mom, Linda Standiford, the birth of her 1-pound, 4-ounce daughter was just the start of an unforgettable roller coaster ride.
With a due date in the chilly winter of 1989, my mom never imagined having her daughter in the heat of July. But July 21 came and so did I – just 24 weeks into my mom’s pregnancy. I was born at 8:39 a.m. and my mom left at 6 o’clock that night. She says that was probably one of the hardest things she ever did because she had to walk out where the new moms were coming out with their babies.
In 2014, I returned to the hospital that saved my life and walked in its 26th annual Father’s Day 5K. I texted my mom and my dad and said, “Have you ever heard about this? Why haven’t we done it?” I signed up, and they signed up to do it with me.
I was excited for the opportunity to give back, and enlisted the help of my extended family to support me in my race. I sent out a couple of emails and the response was astounding. I raised more than $2,000 for the NICU just in individual fundraising dollars. My mom was not surprised.
My mom says that our family has always been inspired by me because I’ve overcome so many obstacles. She says I set out to do something and I’m going to do it. My mom doesn’t think I got my determination from her, but in 1989, no one would have agreed. My mom describes the initial days in the NICU as a whirlwind. As a new mother, doctors and nurses weren’t answering all of her questions right away but, looking back, she realizes it was because they were focused on the task at hand – me.
My mom has told me that the support that we got was fabulous. We stayed in contact with the NICU nurses for years afterwards, and she says the nurses recognized her moods, like when she would get stressed out, and help where they could.
After 101 days in the NICU, I finally came home the day before Halloween. Even though I was too small to remember what they did for me, I am grateful for GBMC for saving my life. My enthusiasm for GBMC’s annual fundraising event has not dissipated since my first one, and my team is already gearing up for the next!