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Celebrating life to its fullest

Alicia Jones has double the reason to celebrate life on Saturday.

It will be six years ago to the day she gave birth to her son, Tyrell, and the day of the annual Walk for Life, which supports an organization that helped her decide to have Tyrell.

“I was only 19 when I got pregnant, and I had no idea what to do,” Jones said. “Advocates at the Crisis Pregnancy Center walked me through my options and gave me information to make a decision that was really so hard for me to make. Now, I can’t imagine living without him.”

The Walk for Life is an annual event that raises funds to support the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater, whose goal is to care for women and babies in the community by offering free and confidential services.

Jones is a firm believer in what Suffolk’s Crisis Pregnancy Center can do for young women in the community.

While still in college, Jones became pregnant.

“I didn’t know how my parents would feel about it,” Jones said. “I’d grown up in a Christian environment and home. I was so afraid to build up the courage to tell them.”

Fearful of her parents’ reaction and judgment from friends, family and the Christian community, she considered terminating her pregnancy.

“I went to the center and told them I wanted to know about all my options,” Jones said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. In my heart of hearts, I knew I wanted to carry to full term, but I was scared of what family members would say and what others would think.”

Having the opportunity to talk through her feelings and receiving education about the reality of terminating a pregnancy helped Jones realize the importance of her baby’s life.

“It wasn’t like getting advice from others. She allowed me to talk and express myself and gave me information to help me make my decision,” Jones said. “It gave me confirmation knowing that having my baby — and not letting fear or others influence my decision — would be doing the right thing to do.”

While Jones said giving up her social life and education and being judged by others for having a child out of wedlock was difficult, “motherhood has been the best thing in my life,” she said.

Now, because the services at the center influenced her life so greatly, Jones volunteers at the center.

“The organization helps people at both ends,” Jones said. “They give you the information to make the decision and support you in every area — even if you decide to terminate.”

The Walk for Life not only helps raise funds to help provide these services and offer tools, such as pregnancy tests, but it stands for what Jones and others like her stand for.

“It’s the opportunity for a new beginning and second chance,” Jones said. “That’s what the center gave me, and it can be true for someone else. I’ll be walking — and I know there will be others — to give another girl the same chance to have life — not just for her baby, but for her, too.”

To donate or register to the Walk for Life, visit www.cpcfriends.com/walk.

The walk starts at First Baptist Church of Suffolk at 237 N. Main St. at 9:30. Check in is from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. There will also be face painting and a bounce house for children.