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'Miracle' baby saved Statesboro mom's life
Gun raffle benefits local woman, family
Purvises and baby
Jenny Purvis poses with her baby, Mae, and husband, Erin Purvis, a few weeks after "Miracle Mae" returned home from the NICU. A gun raffle will benefit Purvis, who faces considerable medical costs after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer while she was pregnant earlier this year. - photo by Special

How to help

For more information on entering the 52-week gun raffle to support the Purvis family, visit

When Jenny Purvis went to her doctor for a routine prenatal visit at 27 weeks pregnant, she had no idea of the journey that would soon follow.

A C-section delivery of a 2½-pound baby girl, the removal of two large tumors, an ovarian cancer diagnosis, six rounds of chemotherapy and an impending hysterectomy weren't on the Purvises' radar at all.

The outpouring of love and support by family and friends of the Purvises continues to amaze them, especially with an upcoming fundraiser to help defray some of the astronomical costs the family has accrued.

Walker Pharmacy, Digital Office Equipment, Kenny Stone Law Firm and Family Health Care Center are sponsoring a 52 Gun Raffle. A thousand tickets are available at $50.00 per ticket for 52 chances to win a gun over 52 weeks.

Erin Purvis, Walker home medical manager, and Jenny Purvis, a special education teacher at William James Middle School, expected to meet their daughter in September.

But at an appointment in early June, Jenny Purvis was admitted to East Georgia Regional Medical Center with high blood pressure.

Unable to get the blood pressure under control, doctors felt the need to transfer her to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah. Her pressure was checked every 15 minutes and was temporarily stable for several days.

However, an ultrasound revealed that the placenta was no longer receiving blood flow, and Purvis faced an emergency C-section.

"She was beautiful, but little," she said of her newborn, Mary Ella "Mae" Purvis. "It was scary. But she was already crying, which was a good thing."

The next hurdle Purvis faced was attention to what appeared to be cysts that her doctor had been monitoring during the pregnancy.

"We thought they were getting smaller," she said.

Her doctor addressed the spots during the C-section surgery, removing two large tumors and most of both ovaries.

"I guess I was pretty naïve," Purvis said of her appointment with an oncologist four weeks later. "The doctor came in and said it was ovarian cancer. I didn't think about a 29-year-old getting ovarian cancer."

At that point, a whirlwind of emotions began. With Baby Mae still in the hospital in the NICU, or neonatal intensive care unit, the Purvises stayed close by at the Ronald McDonald House.

"Mae didn't have any major problems or complications in NICU, but she was just so small," Purvis said. "She was getting bigger each day and had some apnea spells because she was still learning to breath."

Purvis said she felt blessed to be located in the Ronald McDonald House.

"I don't know what we would have done without it," she said. "I could walk over and see her any time I wanted."

Mae came home from the hospital on Aug. 25 and is currently tipping the scale at 10 pounds. Purvis has two more chemotherapy sessions remaining and when her body has time to rest from that, she will undergo a hysterectomy surgery.

Purvis said she hopes to return to her teaching position at the beginning of the new year.

"It's been quite a journey," she said. “We've had so much love and support from this community. Even the Ronald McDonald House staff was impressed with all the Statesboro support we received. We feel so fortunate in so many ways, despite the circumstances. It's definitely changed me. I don't sweat the little stuff anymore. We don't take anything for granted. We cherish being home now — we were away from home for so long.

"This is not how we saw our first pregnancy going, but it's definitely brought all of us closer," she continued. "We're just counting our blessings. I feel blessed that I have my beautiful baby — our little miracle. We call her Miracle Mae. She came to save her Mama."

Purvis knows that the outcome could have been completely different for her baby, as well as for her, if not for the timing of the delivery.

"Whenever we call her Miracle Mae, she just grins," Purvis said.


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