Michele Thomas

The gift certificate reads: andquot;Daily Triplicate publisher Michele Thomas invites you and a guest to her home for a delicious home-cooked meal.andquot; It goes on to say that I'm a fabulous cook specializing in homemade bread and scrumptious desserts and that the bearer of the certificate can certainly use the occasion to discuss the newspaper.

Requests for donations or participation in worthy causes cross my desk frequently. As the community's newspaper, good citizens, clubs and various organizations ask us to support their projects. We oblige the best we can. Sometimes there's a cause that really tugs at my heart.

No parents are prepared to deal with circumstances that threaten the life of their child.

I know first hand. When I was pregnant the first time, my due date (to have one child) was Aug. 1, 1977. In the early hours of May 24, I gave birth to twin boys. Collin was born first and weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces; Matt was born 20 minutes later and weighed in at 3 pounds, 1 ounce. Both boys were 15 inches long.

The babies were taken away before I could see them. Hours passed before I was allowed to go to the nursery. I could put my hand through the gloves of the isolettes and touch my sons, but it would be nearly six weeks before I could hold Matt in my arms.

About 12 hours after he was born, Matt was transferred by ambulance to the pediatric intensive care unit of the Children's Hospital in Honolulu with a pint of my blood andquot;in case he needs a transfusion,andquot; the nurse said. That was the beginning of 11 long weeks of waiting to see if my son would survive. With Collin on oxygen at Kaiser Hospital, his condition was considered guarded but generally good. Across town where Matt was, it was a different story. I was told Matt might not make it through the night on several occasions. His weight fell to 2 pounds, 4 ounces. He was jaundiced and his lungs collapsed. He had an infection and a heart murmur.

Several weeks ago, I began a telephone relationship with Kimberly Floyd, the woman behind the fundraising effort for Jessy Nail of Smith River. Jessy is 8 years old. Her mother is a teacher at Smith River School. Jessy has a 1-year-old brother and her mom is five months pregnant. Jessy has cancerous tumors that are being treated with chemotherapy at a hospital a few hundred miles south. Her family is staying by her side as Jessy bravely battles a rare juvenile cancer.

My twins' story has a happy ending. After nine weeks and 11 weeks respectively, Collin and Matt were released from their hospitals weighing about 5 pounds each. We were finally together as a family about a week after their original due date. They are handsome, athletic and bright, and have never had any health problems.

I have been at a loss to find a way to help Jessy. We've published stories about her and the fundraiser tonight. The spaghetti dinner is at 5 p.m. at Smith River Community Hall. An old acquaintance of mine, auctioneer Charlie Morrison of Grants Pass, Ore., graciously accepted our invitation to run the auction. Countless members of the community have donated to the event tonight. Kimberly has gathered nearly 40 auction items and dozens of silent auction and raffle items. Among them is my invitation to dinner. Please bid generously and I promise you a great meal, in honor of Jessy.