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K of C Provides New Ultrasound Machine


A Chance to Be Heard
By Sarah Moore Kuschell

Many mothers can recall the distinct moment when they first heard their child’s heartbeat. Fathers and mothers often both proudly display the very first photo of their expected child. These life-long memories are made possible by ultrasound machines.

Women and men who find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy may come to the Pregnancy Care Center in Traverse City and also have a chance to listen before making life-altering decisions.

Ultrasound exams, which are medically indicated throughout pregnancy for a variety of diagnostic reasons, use ultrasound waves to scan a women’s abdomen, creating a picture or “sonogram” of the baby in her uterus. With the help of the area Knights of Columbus and other donors, $20,206 was raised to purchase a new ultrasound machine for the Pregnancy Care Center. Without K of C support, most pregnancy care centers would be unable to purchase the ultrasound machines.

The hope is that expectant mothers will hear the heartbeat of their child and choose options other than abortion. They hear their baby’s heartbeat; they see their baby’s head and fingers. They know it is a child, not a “choice.”

“A lot of women are in denial about their pregnancy and an ultrasound helps her to see that, yes, she is pregnant,” stated Pregnancy Care Center’s Executive Director Rhonda Watson. “It helps her to bond with that child and make the heart-to-heart connection.”

She gave thanks to God and the many generous donors at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new machine held at the Pregnancy Care Center in April.

“It’s been proven that ultrasounds save lives 75-95% of the time depending on the population,” Watson said.

A report from the Manistee K of C Council pointed to one location in Niles noted that 260 women out of 275 decided to keep their babies as a direct result of the ultrasound machine they had implemented.

Russ Scholtens who is the area’s Knights of Columbus Program Director spearheaded a year-long fundraising effort which is part of the K of C’s Ultrasound Initiative. Scholtens was turned onto the idea during the K of C summer leadership conference where he learned that as part of the K of C Supreme Council International’s effort to support life, they would match any donations collected to purchase new units for qualified offices like the Pregnancy Care Center.

“We had donations come from as far east as St. Helen, from Manistee, and from Elk Rapids,” said Scholtens.

The efforts and donations from area K of C Councils and other families and individuals within the Gaylord diocese totaled $10,000 which was matched by the K of C Supreme Council.

The exact day that the new machine arrived at the Pregnancy Care Center in Traverse City, the old one malfunctioned. The staff at the Center believed it was more than a coincidence.

Carol Bunek, Director at the Center, described their work as the service arm of the pro-life movement and also expressed her thanks saying, “If it hadn’t been for the Knights of Columbus, we wouldn’t have a new machine and would not be able to do our ultrasound expansion.”

Because the new unit was donated, the Center may be able to reallocate funds in order to increase staff or complete other improvements.

“This occasion was a wonderful opportunity for our clergy, K of C, and other supporters to actually see that we are helping women and helping to build the culture of life here,” said Bunek. “The ultrasound is the most powerful tool we have here. I want to thank the donors for getting involved, believing in the sanctity of human life and wanting to support God’s work,” she said. “This is not the Center’s work; we are helping God do His work here.”

Nine ultrasound machines have been purchased in Michigan so far through the special initiative of the K of C Supreme Council. Petoskey’s K of C Council has their funds in place already and several other Councils are in various stages of fundraising for additional machines for local pregnancy centers.

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