Phoenix Couple Turn Tragedy Into Assistance
By Michelle Harty, Contributor
February / March 2007
Phoenix couple Delia Garcia and Kelly Stokes decided to take what Delia called a “babymoon” last summer, a few months before the expected arrival of their baby boy. They had always wanted to visit Ireland and knew they wouldn’t have much time for taking trips once the baby arrived.
Delia’s pregnancy had been perfect up to this point; she didn’t even have morning sickness, and she had gotten the “okay” from her doctor to travel. Because she had been so healthy, she didn’t worry when she woke up feeling slightly ill one morning in Ireland. Attributing the nausea to the tolls of travel, she and her husband continued on with their plan to visit the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. Once there, however, Delia, only 25 weeks pregnant, suddenly went into labor. By the time an ambulance arrived, baby Nicholas had already been born and it was too late to save him.
That night, as Kelly’s mind raced with troubled thoughts of the day’s events, he felt an overwhelming call to action. He knew that he had to make something positive come out of this tragedy, and together, he and Delia resolved to work towards bringing better emergency care to the Cliffs of Moher area. Upon arriving home to Arizona, however, the task seemed daunting. The couple didn’t know where to begin and wondered how two private citizens of one country could possibly have an effect on the medical care in another. Soon, however, they discovered that Phoenix and Ennis, where baby Nicholas is buried, are sister cities. From this point on the plan rolled out so smoothly that it seemed that there must have been divine help.
The Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, which had twinned Phoenix with Ennis in 1988, became passionate about the cause and opened the lines of communication for the couple. Clare County Council was equally supportive. Flan Garvey, the mayor of Clare, had planned a trip to the U.S. to talk about the new Cliffs of Moher Visitors Center project, which had been in the making for years. He added Phoenix to his list of destinations so that he could meet with Kelly and Delia, and while there he let them know that the plans for the new Center had been adjusted to include a first aid facility called “The Nicholas Room” in honor of their baby.
In October, Kelly and Delia returned to the Cliffs of Moher and exerienced a sense of peace, calm and comfort. On the phone with Irish America, Delia described reconnecting with the women from the Visitors Center who had helped during the emergency. “Being able to hug them, and say thank-you, was extremely healing for us, and for them. Nicholas was a part of their lives too,” she said.
Delia and Kelly have pledged to raise $86,000 towards the first aid facility, and will be involved in the improvement of health and emergency services throughout County Clare. They carry with them a sense of pride that their son Nicholas, as briefly as he lived, has left his positive and lasting impact on the world.
For more information contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 01135386-8534900 or e-mail: [email protected] ♦