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A True Olympic Hero: Tasha Danvers-Smith

ve8QAd   |   July 01, 2004

Tasha Danvers-Smith had Olympic gold on her mind, and with good reason. She was one of Britain’’s most promising prospects for bringing home the highest honor from the Summer Olympics. Tasha’s event is the 400-meter hurdles. Life was good from her perspective. She had gold in her sights and had recently married Darrell Smith, her trainer, in November. They were happily settled into Los Angeles, concentrating on training for the upcoming Olympics.

Physically, she didn’’t feel quite right. Her period was late, but considering her rigorous training, that didn’’t worry her. However, she was also frequently tired, so she took a pregnancy test to eliminate this unlikely possibility. Then, Tasha got the shocking news. She was pregnant!

All of a sudden, Tasha’’s world was turned upside down! The pressure to have an abortion was enormous, and Tasha admitted that she briefly considered it. She was the breadwinner of the family. Continuing the pregnancy would jeopardize their financial well-being. Not only that, the winners of Olympic gold frequently receive lucrative endorsement offers. These generate large amounts of income for the athlete. By having the baby, she and Darrell would be giving up a lot.

In spite of the pressures, abortion didn’’t linger in Tasha’’s mind very long. She kept thinking of Matthew 16:26, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Tasha and Darrell knew a gold medal wasn’’t worth their souls, and it wasn’’t worth the life of their baby. They decided against abortion.

I was amazed by Tasha and Darrell’’s firm commitment to life and their faith. Money is often the god of choice in today’’s society. It seems to influence a majority of our decisions. Many women faced with Tasha’’s situation would have opted for abortion.

That’’s why I presented Tasha with Life Issues Institute’s “Hero At Heart” award. It’’s presented to those who demonstrate outstanding courage or compassion on behalf of innocent life. I then announced this award on my daily radio program, Life Issues, which is heard on about 500 stations throughout the nation. One of our staff was working to get Tasha’’s contact information so we could mail the award to her when she contacted us.

I guess we shouldn’’t be surprised that Tasha encountered an avalanche of criticism for giving up her Olympic dreams to have a baby. Some pretty ugly and hurtful things were written about her. One night, because she was unable to sleep, Tasha surfed the Internet, looking to see what other negative critiques existed. During her search, she came upon our website and read that she had received this prestigious pro-life honor. She was moved to tears and e-mailed us to express her gratitude.

Tasha wrote, ““I was beginning to think that no one else but my family thought I wasn’’t an idiot for giving up this ‘opportunity of a lifetime.’ You have helped me keep holding my head up high, and one day I will be able to show this to my child. It will impress that his or her life is not just special to my family and me, but to people all over the world.”” Tasha also added Darrell’s appreciation, because he had gotten out of bed to see what all her tears were about!

It broke my heart that Tasha had been inundated with negative feedback when she and her husband so unselfishly chose to do what was right. I want to change all that. We’’ve set up a special way for you and others to e-mail a message of encouragement to Tasha and Darrell. Simply go to our web site, www.lifeissues.org. Click on Tasha’’s picture on the home page. It will provide you with more information. More important, you will be able to write your own personal letter to this true “Hero At Heart.” We will see that she and Darrell get them.

Please tell others about Tasha. My goal is to receive thousands of e-mails, expressing supportive good wishes that we can give to these expectant parents. Tasha’s baby is due December 3, 2004. What do you say we generate a few mementos for their baby’’s scrapbook? Someday they’ll be able to share your kind words with this now unborn child. Your kind words will tell this child that he or she is truly loved and wanted. They will also say this child is much more important than the temporary glitter and excitement of an Olympic event.

The race Tasha and Darrell have decided to run is one for their child. It’s a race that will take a lifetime to complete, and is certain to provide countless blessings along the way. Let’s help these new parents get this race off to a wonderful start. Send your letter of encouragement today!

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