ATHENS, Alabama – Playing For Preemies in Athens is hosting its 12th annual Playing For Preemies football game on Friday, October 8. The game will feature Ardmore vs. East Limestone at Ardmore High School.
Lauren Bates was born at 28 weeks and weighed just 2 pounds, 12 ounces.
Her parents, Rusty and Kristin Bates, told News 19, “We spent 52 days there and just saw there was a need. We realized that the sleeping space was limited at the time, and we just decided to do something about it.
It was at Lauren’s bedside that the parents came up with the idea of organizing football games to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Center for Women and Children at Huntsville Hospital. The Bates family teamed up with the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund and started the football game.
The non-profit organization aims not only to raise awareness about premature births, but also to fund, support and purchase equipment, supplies and personal care through the Melissa George Neonatal Fund.
“This is our 12th year sponsoring a game,” Bates said. “Since then it has expanded to five gold tournaments and we have a fun 5k race at the end of October.”
Bates said last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic, but this year it was postponed until October 30, 2021 in Ardmore.
Each year, Playing For Preemies brings out a new jersey featuring the fundraising game’s opponents. It is thanks to these shirt sales and donations over the past decade that the nonprofit has been able to reach a milestone this year.
“We will exceed the $ 100,000 donation to the NICU,” Bates continued.
The shirts, which you can find here, must be purchased no later than September 29. This year, you will have the choice between two different models.
Bates said that since the games started it has expanded to much more than just a soccer game and through the efforts of the community those who have donated, regardless of their size, have been a real one. blessing for the Huntsville Women’s and Children’s NICU Hospital and Families. .
“It turned out to be so much more than we expected,” Bates concluded. “We thought we were playing a football game and now we are in our 12th game, we are now a 5013c and it was a wonderful experience.”
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