Young mother Emily Godwin and her son Aiden are two living miracles in Sampson County, having survived a harrowing battle against a life-threatening illness. Through their sickness, which they continue to recover from, the pair have relied on their faith, their family, and their friends. Now the Godwin’s home church family at Harmony Baptist, along with First Baptist Church of Clinton, is continuing its support of assisting Emily and Aiden in a new way — holding a fundraiser to help them with their medical expenses.
The fundraiser will be held Friday, Sept. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 408 College St. in Clinton. Barbecue plates with a dessert will be for sale for $7. Homemade cakes will also be available for purchase. Supporters can eat-in or take-out, and drive-thru will also be available. When 10 or more plates are purchased from one location, like a business or organization, the plates can be delivered. Interested persons who want delivery need to contact the church with their request by the end of the day on Monday, Sept. 16.
According to Emily’s mother, Diana, there are numerous ways people can participate in the fundraiser, including purchasing plates and cakes, donating a hog or money towards one since the fundraiser will require approximately 20 hogs, helping deliver plates on Sept. 20, helping with preparations the day before, and selling tickets in advance.
The funds raised “will go toward helping them with their ongoing medical care,” shared Diana, explaining that her daughter and grandson have to make regular trips to Duke University Medical Center as well as go through counseling and physical therapy sessions.
“Of course, the money will help, especially since Emily will not be able to work for so long,” continued Diana, “but it’s really a way for people to see the glory of God. You’ll see two miracles, tangibly see that God still performs miracles.”
The start of Emily’s miracle-ending journey began like most young mother’s — she was excitedly expecting her first child on Feb. 15.
However, “Aiden was a week late and Emily started running a round-the-clock fever,” recalled Diana, mentioning the many phone calls and visits made to doctors that week. “It spiked to 103 when she went to deliver.”
Because of her high fever, doctors at Durham Regional Hospital had to do an emergency c-section on Feb. 22. Once Aiden was brought into the world, doctors discovered he also had a fever and they placed him in the hospital’s special care nursery. On the first day one of his life, Aiden had to have a lumber puncture.
“In his first three days of life, he had two lumber punctures,” said Diana. “They didn’t know if it was meningitis or what.”
Just four days later, doctors sent Aiden to Duke via a Lifeflight helicopter.
“Duke was less than five miles away, but when they got him there, he had liver, kidney, and heart failure, his lungs were full of fluid, and he was having brain seizures,” Diana remembered. “We were told he was the sickest baby in intensive care.”
“We couldn’t touch him, even the doctors tried not to. Every hour they would do the touching they had to do but the rest of the time they didn’t and they moved the six other babies that were in there out because any touch, sound, or light bothered him,” continued Diana. ” If he was stimulated, he’d just start to crash. His body couldn’t take it.”
During this same time, Emily was discharged from the hospital in Durham but had to be brought to Duke Hospital’s ER within just a couple of days.
“Her liver had failed too,” said Diana. “It was like an out of body experience. Within five minutes, they had her in a trauma room and there were over 30 doctors working on her.”
Doctors determined that 70 percent of Emily’s liver had died. Her family was told that if things did not improve she would need a liver transplant soon and would be placed at the top of the national transplant registry because she was so sick.
“We were told that both of them would die…It’s a fairly common but extreme virus that they had a very rare reaction to,” Diana recalled. “It’s a true miracle from God that they are here.”
To the amazement of doctors and to the family’s relief, both Emily and Aiden survived. Additionally, Emily did not have to undergo a liver transplant and Aiden did not have any negative effects from the seizures.
According to Diana, their survival is the result of faith and prayer.
“My brother started the “Prayers for Emily” Facebook page. I didn’t leave her room so I didn’t know what was going in the outside world, but I was told that people were posting on the page that they were praying,” shared Diana, noting that in one week Emily’s page had reached 134,000 people. “There were people from Iceland, Turkey, Venezuela, Kenya praying for her.”
“I also asked that people text me when they were praying so that I could read the prayers to Emily so that she could be encouraged even though she was unaware at that time. The first day I got 800 prayer texts,” Diana continued. “I couldn’t believe it. It was so humbling.”
It’s those prayers from family, friends, medical personnel, and people across the world that Diana feels helped to bring about a miracle.
“We completely say it was prayer,” added Diana. “I knew she was going to live because God still has something for her to do. I was always 100 percent sure of that. I knew he was going to spare her.”
Emily and Aiden both continue to recover and improve though the process is slow and still difficult.
“Emily can’t drive and the doctors say it will be at least a year before she can go back to school; she was working on her Master’s. It’ll also be a long time before she can work. She’s healing but it’s very slow,” shared Diana, adding that though Aiden still has some liver damage he is “thriving.”
“You know, everyday we have tears in our family. A lot of it is from having to watch Emily suffer, but God still works for good in all circumstances so we also have tears because of what we are thankful for,” explained Diana as she babysat Aiden while Emily was at doctor’s appointment last week. “Here I am holding this blessing and nothing can replace how precious he is to us. Our faith, the blessing of Aiden, and the love from others has gotten us through.”
The upcoming fundraiser is yet another example of people’s love and support for Emily and Aiden, and the Godwins said they wanted to express their thanks for the care and concern that others have had for them and the many prayers that have been prayed on their behalf.
“We’re so thankful for the outpouring of so much support,” said Godwin. “It’s been incredibly encouraging and uplifting.”
Although she wasn’t feeling well, Emily shared her thanks as well last week. “I’m just so thankful for the prayers and support. It overwhelms me. Aiden motivates me to push myself to get stronger everyday. If it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be here. I’m so thankful he’s given me a second chance at life.”
To learn more about Emily and Aiden’s story and to keep up with their progress, visit “Prayers for Emily” on Facebook. If interested in helping with the fundraiser, please send Diana a private message.
Harmony Baptist Church, 1357 Harmony Church Road, Clinton, can be contacted at 910-564-6731.
First Baptist Church, 408 College St., Clinton, can be contacted at 910-592-8124.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.