The pro-life HeartReach Center, which has offered support to pregnant Alaska women for more than 30 years, is holding its annual fundraising banquet on Oct. 17 at Wasilla Bible Church in Wasilla.
The event features keynote speakers Derrick and Julie Tennat, the brother-sister duo behind The Love Chromosome, an organization that promotes the inherent dignity of those with disabilities.
According LoveChromosome.com, Julie has Down Syndrome, a condition caused by having an extra chromosome. Her grampa said it “wasn’t extra but everyone else is MISSING it.” He called it “the love chromosome.” Julie’s brother Derrick was a talented athlete with a dream to play professional sports. His life took a different course, however, when one evening he laid down but did not wake up for three days. He had suffered random bleeding, which led to paralysis and a coma. He underwent brain surgery but lost the use of his left arm and now walks with a limp. Today, Derrick is a stand-up comedian, and despite obstacles, he and Julie have embraced life and travel across the country speaking up for the dignity of all human life.
According to the HeartReach website, the non-profit has served Alaskans since 1986, reaching more than 4,000 women who have come to the group for information and support as they face the possibility of unintended pregnancy. All services are confidential and free of charge.
The pro-life outreach offers a wide array of services, including: pregnancy testing, accurate information about abortion and its consequences, ultrasounds, parenting classes and support, abstinence education, mentoring programs for mothers and fathers, childbirth classes and pre-natal classes. The groups also provides referrals for churches, housing, legal and medical assistance.
It runs a “baby store” with clothes, diapers and other items for parents and young babies. For those who have undergone an abortion, the group offers support groups.
HeartReach’s website states that it is committed to serving women from all backgrounds who will receive “honest and open answers.”
Client pregnancy tests are done in accordance with all applicable laws and all clients receive accurate information about pregnancy, fetal development, lifestyle issues and related concerns, the group states.
The annual banquet provides a significant portion of HeartReach’s annual operating budget, while offering the organization a chance to share stories, triumphs and challenges that lie ahead.
Admission to the banquet is free thanks to underwriting from local businesses and private community supporters. “However, since the primary purpose for this dinner remains fund-raising, we do ask that attendees come prepared not only to learn about HeartReach Center but also to invest financially,” the website explains.
The adult-only banquet takes place Thursday, Oct. 17, from 6:30-9 p.m. at Wasilla Bible Church. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and registration is required. The evening will include a catered dinner and dessert. Smart casual attire is recommended.