By Jessa McClure
On the sprawling acreage surrounding a little church in between Stephenville and Dublin, dozens of people gather to celebrate the life of Memphis Rein Magin. Although she only lived 13 days on this earth, she has already made an impact on the Dublin community and helped bring resources to premature babies and their families all over the country.
It’s called Memphis’ March. It’s a 5K and fun run Brittany and Matt Magin created, with the help of Green’s Creek Methodist Church, to honor their daughter’s life and bring hope to families who are spending their days and nights worrying and praying over a child in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“When we first started going to Green’s Creek Methodist Church the congregation had talked about doing some sort of service ministry. They just weren’t sure who they wanted to help,” Brittany Magin said. “My dear friend, Patti Miller, who also attends the church, suggested that we do a 5K in honor of Memphis. It was like it was meant to be.”
The church ran with the idea to create a running event and formed a committee to make it happen.
“All of the proceeds we make are donated directly to the March of Dimes,” she said. “We hope that each year it just gets bigger and bigger.”
Even though the church has a membership of less than 50, they have managed to raise more than $23,000 in the last three years for the organization that funds lifesaving research and works to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.
Magin said they chose the March of Dimes as the recipient of the event because of what the local March of Dime chapters did for the young family in their most difficult moments.
“I was in the NICU every single day for 13 days. I had just had a traumatic delivery and felt like I’d hit a brick wall,” she said. “[The Waco March of Dimes chapter] was there for me in the NICU. They were there to answer questions. I learned so many facts about babies and why women have premature babies and what they do in the NICU to help them.”
The representative from the organization also explained why their daughter was receiving surfactant replacement therapy, which helps to keep premature lungs expanding and helps to prevent respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).
“If it wasn’t for the surfactant that the March of Dimes helped research and come up with, I wouldn’t have even had her for 13 days,” Magin said. “After they helped me, I thought, I need to start telling people about this great charity.”
As the family grieved and worked to find a way to keep their daughter’s memory alive, they got some happy news—they were expecting. And this time it was twins.
Although they were elated at the idea of bringing two new babies into the world, they were worried about the chance of delivering prematurely again. There fears were realized when it was discovered that Magin had developed a pregnancy complication that might put her boys at risk. Doctors put her on immediate bed rest—first at home and then an hour and fifteen minutes away in the maternal observation ward at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.
Magin spent 89 long days in the hospital waiting for the birth of her sons. But there was a ray of hope in the form of another March of Dimes representative.
“The woman from the local March of Dimes chapter would come and visit me a couple times a week,” she said. “She taught me how to crochet. I made the boys little hats in the hospital. She would come and bring me brochures to read and she helped connect me to people who were in my same situation.”
“She would just come up there and talk to me,” she said. “That meant so much when I was sitting there every day. Yes, my husband came up every night, but that made for a long day. She became a very good friend.”
Magin said Memphis’ March is not only a way to honor their daughter’s memory, but is a way to give back to the organization that gave them so much.
Because the event has become so successful, the Magins were named the Ambassador Family for the Waco area March of Dimes. The family hopes that by sharing their story and bringing attention to the organization that they will help others who are struggling with grief.
“There is nothing worse in this life than losing a child. I would not want anyone to experience that,” Magin said. “But if it happens, you have to find something to help you get through it. Our charity event is how we do that. We truly believe that God gave her to us for a reason. If that’s to help other people and help babies, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Today, the Magins have two rambunctious two-year-old boys—Kash and Kreek—to run around after. But even in the joy and busyness of raising their two miracle babies, they never forget the memory of their daughter.
“When we bought this land after we got married, I said, ‘Matt, I cannot live beside a cemetery.’ So, he put up a privacy fence,” she said. “Who would have thought that we would have Memphis buried right there. We walk across the fence and go visit her. She’s right there beside us. I truly believe there is a purpose for everything.”
This year’s run will be on November 28 at Green’s Creek Methodist Church. Magin said there will be barbecue and live music at the end of the race, and those interested in being a part of Memphis’ March can contact her at 254-485-6626 or visit facebook.com/pages/Memphis-March.