Daughter’s early health scare inspires Lakeville man
Bob Curtis supports the March of Dimes
Six years ago, Lakeville couple Bob and Gail Curtis were nearing the birth date of their first daughter, Isabelle.
That moment when she was born was one filled with elation. Curtis and some family members went out to eat while Gail and Isabelle recuperated from the birth.
But when Curtis returned to Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, he found his baby gone and his wife crying.
Isabelle had transfused two-thirds of her blood back into Gail upon birth, leaving the infant pale and ailing.
Today, Isabelle is a happy, healthy elementary school student who is “just learning how to ride a bike without training wheels.”
But in that hospital room that day, Curtis and his wife were unsure of the future at all.
“There were no issues during my wife’s pregnancy,” Curtis said. But when Isabelle was born doctors noticed her complexion and low oxygen levels. They rushed her off to the neonatal intensive care unit.
For nine days, doctors worked hard to build up Isabelle’s white blood cells following a transfusion.
“After the third shot, it took,” Curtis said.
What came out of that experience, and knowing other couples who have had birth-related issues, such as premature babies, was a dedication to raising money for the March of Dimes.
Curtis, through his Farmers Insurance agency, runs an annual raffle to raise money for the organization that was originally founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt to seek a polio cure and now focuses on helping babies lead healthy lives.
He held a fundraiser at his Lakeville office Thursday, June 14, from 3 to 6 p.m. at 19950 Dodd Blvd., Suite 104, but is still accepting donations at his website. His goal this year is $3,000. The raffle prize this year is a customized Haro BMX bike worth more than $1,000.
The money goes toward supporting research and programs that help mothers have full-term pregnancies and give babies healthy early lives.
The Curtis family now has two daughters. Allison, born 18 months after Isabelle, experienced no health issues upon her birth.
Looking back, Curtis said he is just happy to be helping other families and that his own is now doing fine.
“You’d never know those early days were touch and go,” he said.