OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Dodgers and INTEGRIS continue the 2018 "Home Run For Life" series Saturday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark by recognizing Emily Rose Hollins, who was born nearly four months premature and spent 156 days in the INTEGRIS Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).Hollins was born at 25
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Dodgers and INTEGRIS continue the 2018 "Home Run For Life" series Saturday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark by recognizing Emily Rose Hollins, who was born nearly four months premature and spent 156 days in the INTEGRIS Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Hollins was born at 25 weeks and six days on Feb. 8, 2017, weighing a mere 12.7 ounces at birth. After spending more than five months in the NICU after her birth, Hollins left INTEGRIS as the hospital's smallest surviving baby ever.
Hollins is thriving today thanks to the care she received at INTEGRIS. Her weight was approaching 15 pounds in April and Hollins was on the verge of both talking and walking.
"Home Run For Life" recognizes individuals in the Oklahoma City community who have overcome a significant medical event with the help of their families, physicians and health care professionals. To symbolize the end of their battle against adversity, honorees take a home run "lap" around the bases during an in-game ceremony.
"For the eighth straight year, we are proud to partner with INTEGRIS to recognize some amazing Oklahomans who have faced extraordinary adversity with their health," OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said. "Their perseverance and courage are great examples and we are pleased to have the opportunity to honor their hard work in overcoming these challenges."
About two years ago, Melanie Hollins didn't believe she would be able to have children. The now-43-year-old Bethany resident had been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and end-stage kidney failure - all hereditary traits in her family tree.
Melanie's kidneys were functioning at just 13 percent and she was going through the approval process to be placed on the kidney transplant list when she and her husband Alex found out she was pregnant with Emily Rose.
"We were both excited and horrified at the same time," Melanie said. "Here I was dealing with my own major medical problems and asking myself 'am I even going to be physically capable of carrying this child?'"
She said everything progressed fine with her pregnancy until about six months in when during a scheduled check-up her doctor said Emily Rose was very small and not growing like she needed to be. Melanie's kidney function also dropped to 11 percent. Then one night in early February, Melanie experienced strong stomach pains and went to the emergency room.
"They told me, she's coming today," Melanie recalled. "That freaked me out."
At 6:22 p.m., Emily Rose was delivered by Cesarean section and entered the world weighing barely more than a can of soda and less than one pound.
Being born so early, Emily Rose's body was extremely underdeveloped. She was not able to breathe on her own. She couldn't physically take a bottle until she was three months old. NICU nurses fed her through a tube to keep her alive.
After a five-month stay in the hospital, Emily Rose weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was released as a healthy baby girl.
Melanie is so thankful to the medical staff at INTEGRIS for their faith, tenacity and willingness to help her daughter against the odds.
"They gave her a chance, and them giving her a chance made all the difference in the world," Melanie said.
Melanie works today to balance maintenance of her own health with caring for Emily Rose and the rest of her family, including 10-year-old daughter Jacari. Melanie is on dialysis and continues to wait on the kidney transplant list. She said Emily Rose constantly gives her strength thanks to her daughter's vivacity.
"She's a little firecracker," Melanie said. "Full of energy."
To read Hollins' full story, visit: milb.com/oklahoma-city/tickets/home-run-for-life-emily-rose-hollins.
The Dodgers continue their homestand at 7:05 tonight on a $2 Thursday featuring $2 Pepsi products, bottled water and select beer. Fireworks are slated to follow Friday's 7:05 p.m. matchup against Salt Lake, presented by Oklahoma Blood Institute.
The Dodgers open a four-game home series against the Las Vegas 51s at 7:05 p.m. Saturday on Marvel Super Hero Night. Fans who come out to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark can meet Iron Man and Thor during the game and watch Hollins complete her "Home Run For Life" following the third inning.
Sunday's 6:05 p.m. game falls on a Chaparral Energy Family Sunday, featuring pregame player autographs, a mascot meet-and-greet, face painters, inflatables and postgame kids run the bases. Five hundred OERB Player of the Month posters, featuring May winner Joe Broussard, will be available to children ages 12 and under as they exit the ballpark Sunday. The posters will showcase an action shot of Broussard, who was selected as the May winner through a social media poll, as well as informational OERB graphics about well site safety.
The series against Las Vegas continues at 7:05 p.m. Monday and wraps up with an 11:05 a.m. game Tuesday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on a Summer Field Trip Day. Camps and day cares are encouraged to come out Tuesday for a summer field trip. An OKC Dodgers game ticket, hat and sack lunch are included for the price of $13 per person for groups of 10 or more.
Tickets are available through the OKC Dodgers ticket office located on South Mickey Mantle Drive, by phone at (405) 218-2182, or by visiting okcdodgers.com.