UPDATE: McDuffie County widow awards scholarship in husband's memory
MCDUFFIE COUNTY (WFXG) - We brought you this story early 2020 about a McDuffie County widow who was able to find joy again by way of IVF treatments.
Prior to her husband's sudden death, Alexis Bailey dealt with fertility issues that led the couple to try in vitro fertilization to have their first child together. When their first session failed, Alexis almost lost hope.
Three weeks after her husband's death, Bailey found the courage to try IVF again along with creating four community initiatives that would help keep her husband's legacy alive.
Despite schools being closed and many graduations delayed due to COVID-19, on June 7, Bailey was able to keep her husband's legacy going by presenting a Warren County High School senior, Ianel Johnson with the Antonio Bailey Scholarship, the recipient received a $500 check and is the first recipient.
Bailey also created “The Bailey Way Inc.”, an organization for adolescents that have at least one deceased parent. The organization serves children ages 6-17 & supports the children in many ways, including activities and forums that assist with coping with their loss/absence. The Bailey Way, Inc. will meet once a month to engage & interact with members, participating in various activities.
Bailey plans to write a children's book and host a community event in honor of her husband.
Applicants of the scholarship were required to maintain at least 3.0 GPA and had to submit two teacher recommendations along with one community service letter.
(Feb 5) - Antonio Bailey Jr., wrapped in his mother's arms, is a gift to this family. He wore a onesie that reads, "Mommy, I met daddy in heaven long before my grand entrance into this world. He told me to tell you to stay strong and that you're doing an amazing job."
Alexis Bailey believes her newborn is perfect.
"He's determined. He's sweet and loving," Bailey explained.
These are things Alexis knows for sure about her newborn, who will never get the chance to know his father. The infant's grandmother, Betty Bailey, said her grandson's birth is her family's rainbow after a storm. That's because her son, Antonio Bailey died April 24th 2019.
"My son was the sweetest person in the world, and losing him was the worst pain in the world. I'm still dealing with. It's hard just losing a child," Betty said.
Prior to Antonio's death, fertility issues led the couple to try in vitro fertilization to have their first child together. When their first session failed, Alexis almost lost hope.
"We felt like it was thousands of dollars gone down the drain. So he sent me a text saying 'we're going to try and try until we succeed,'" Alexis explained.
That hope helped her move forward with the process - three weeks after her husband's death - in a session that had already been scheduled for the beginning of May.
"The doctor gave us a call and told us we could still go through with it. I went in with my support system," recalled Alexis.
She said it's one of the hardest things she's ever had to navigate. Many other women share her struggle.
Servy Fertility Institute IVF Coordinator Liz Muns said her office, which provides multiple assistive reproductive technology at low costs, treats 300 people a year. She said there is a 60 percent success rate with frozen transfers.
"She had to try multiple times, her and Antonio had to save up their money for their last try and then whenever she had that tragic event it was just so wonderful she was finally able to get pregnant and she was able to hear her first heartbeat June of 2019," said Muns.
Antonio Bailey Jr. was born January 21, 2020.
"I just give God the praise for allowing this to take place," said David Reese, Alexis' father.
It's the last gift 33-year-old Antonio Bailey would ever give.
"It means everything to me," explained Alexis.
A sure sign for Alexis and her family that her husband's legacy must continue. She's looking forward to furthering it in several ways.
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