The Village Club in Sands Point was the scene of an emotional, fun and festive Project Cuddle fund raiser party and auction that attracted a well dressed crowd of Long Island residents and celebrities . . . and raised $100,000. An open bar and walk around buffet provided the fare, and The Beach Boys the music for dancing. There was much to celebrate as parents who had adopted abandoned babies, with the help and support of Project Cuddle, came together to share their own personal story; a few brought their children with them. Baby Eddie, rescued and recently adopted, smiles for the camera and cuddles in Dina Lohan’s arms.
Debbie Magnusen, the founder of Project Cuddle knows a great deal about motherhood, and what giving is all about. She gave birth to two, fostered 35, and then later adopted five of these children. Her crusade to stop baby abandonment, which began twelve years ago, has enlisted the support of many caring and famous people, including actor John Stamos who has come on board as Project Cuddle’s National spokesperson.
Debbie’s mission “to stop baby abandonment” is fueled by her belief “no baby deserves to die without a chance to live, and all babies deserve to be held in the arms of a loving mother”. Over the years, Debbie and Project Cuddle have rescued 635 babies, placing them in the loving arms and homes of families: many who have other children; some who were unable to conceive.
Debbie’s mission spread, thanks to the media, and an army of 1,400 volunteers have joined her crusade.
Lauren Egna, is the natural mother of four, ages 9 to 15. She lives on Long Island; Debbie lives in Costa Mesa, California. Two years ago, after reading about Project Cuddle in People Magazine, Lauren called Debbie expressing her concern. “The number of abandoned babies was startling; people had not heard of Project Cuddle on the East Coast in spite of the publicity it had received”. Debbie flew out to New York. Lauren tells me:" we cried together and shared stories”.
May 30th, 2008 was a proud day for Debbie Magnusen and Lauren Egna, now Project Cuddle's East Coast coordinator. This year’s fund raiser, which Lauren organized and orchestrated with her team of volunteers, raised $100,000, matching the $100,000 raised at last year’s event. Proceeds from the tickets and auction will help defray the costs of Project Cuddle’s crisis line . . . and all the other medical, counseling and educational help they offer pregnant girls and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, as well as families that can’t have children.
These two women, who live totally different lives on opposite coasts, are both courageous caring moms; they have come together “to stop baby abandonment”, and together they are making a huge difference in the lives of many. The sad, poignant, and happy stories and statistics they shared touched me deeply. Debbie tells me: “fifty seven babies are abandoned everyday; tragically many have not had the chance to be rescued or have died during an unsafe child birth”.
Project Cuddle educates teen age girls, in and out of the schools to help prevent abandonment of unwanted babies, to let them know there are options, including free medical care during their pregnancy and help in the selection of an adoptive family. A free brochure in Planned Parenthood led to one baby rescue.
Debbie has coached three deliveries in her own house, but living her dream to stop baby abandonment has not been an easy journey. More volunteers are needed to speak at schools . . . to reach young mothers-to-be … to let them know there’s no need to hide a pregnancy or resort to an abortion…. and to reassure them, there are loving arms and hearts ready to embrace their child, once he or she is born. Pregnant girls need to know there is a safe and legal alternative to the felony of baby abandonment; Baby abandonment is a serious crime.
If you, or someone you know, are pregnant and thinking of abandoning their baby:
Call the Project Cuddle Crisis Hotline!-888-228-3353,
You will get code #, and your identity will be protected.
Share the message, it is an important one: “no baby deserves to be abandoned; everyone deserves to be held in the arms of a loving mother”. And if your are a corporation, step up to the plate with funds to cover the costs of the crisis line and school videos.
For More Info on how you can support Project Cuddle or tickets to their “Malibu at Sunset Fund Raiser “
Call: 1- 714-433-6800
Or go to their web site: www. projectcuddle.org
Yours truly put in the winning auction bid on a luncheon for 25 from Moaz Vegetarian restaurant in Union Square, New York City. It will be delivered to the Event Team at Bank of America in Rockefeller Center, July 9th, and a spokesperson from Project Cuddle will be on hand to inspire the group’s support.