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Open Arms Real Choices Clinic in Hayden is a pregnancy resource clinic that helps young women facing unplanned pregnancies. We do not provide any abortion services and encourage the women who come through our doors to investigate alternatives to abortion, including parenting or placing their children with an adoptive family. We believe that all lives are precious, no matter the circumstances of the pregnancy and birth, because each new life holds infinite possibilities and promise. 

When asked why they support abortion, one of the reasons most often cited by pro-abortion advocates is that when a young woman has an unplanned pregnancy, having the baby will “ruin” her life. Another common argument is that the child will have a difficult life—a rationale that seems very self-serving, as we would never entertain using it for ending the lives of children outside of the womb. Life can be hard. That’s true. Sometimes, the plans that we’ve made for ourselves encounter unexpected setbacks and detours. At the same time, many people manage to live, love, and thrive in even the most challenging circumstances. Who can say what a given life will amount to? 

In particular, mothers who face obstacles can embrace hope and meaning for themselves and their children by choosing to focus on love instead of fear. One powerful example of a mother’s hope and love can be seen in the story of Seattle Seahawks linebacker Derick Hall. A recent article about him is a good example of why we can never make assumptions about whether a given life is worth living. 


The Power to Overcome

Today, Derick Hall is pretty substantial: at 6’3″ and 254 pounds, not a lot of people would imagine that he entered the world at only 2 pounds and 9 ounces! That’s right – he was born a “micro-preemie” – that is, a very tiny baby, born significantly premature at 23.5 weeks gestation.

Derick was unresponsive and not breathing at birth; his heart had stopped, and he had to be resuscitated in the delivery room. With undeveloped lungs and bleeding on his brain, he was not expected to live. His mother, Stacy Gooden-Crandle, was single and 26 years old. Doctors told her that Derick’s chance of survival was only 1%. Not only that but, if he did survive, he would be profoundly disabled, perhaps even in a permanent vegetative state. 

Given his bleak prognosis, Derick’s physicians advised his mother to sign a DNR and allow life support to be discontinued. She refused. Despite being warned of the probable difficulties ahead, she steadfastly chose her son’s life and well-being above all else. Derick spent five months on a ventilator in the NICU as his tiny body grew and healed. He not only survived but overcame one hurdle after another, defying the medical experts’ grim predictions of death and severe disability.

That’s not to say it was easy. Derick’s infancy was marred by health complications typical of extreme prematurity; he suffered from asthma and experienced frequent hospitalizations. He didn’t walk until he was 18 months old due to developmental delays, and he needed extensive speech and physical therapy. However, his mother’s unwavering courage and determination propelled him forward..;’

Throughout his childhood, Derick grappled with lung and immunity issues, making everyday activities challenging. Despite these obstacles, his passion for football burned brightly. Supported by his mother’s relentless advocacy, Hall pursued his dream, overcoming both physical limitations and social barriers to play the sport he loved.

Despite frequent setbacks, Hall’s resilience propelled him through the ranks of players, culminating in a career with the Seattle Seahawks. For his mother, witnessing his NFL debut was a moment of profound pride, a testament to her son’s indomitable spirit and perseverance.

In gratitude for his journey and inspired by his past, Hall established the Derick Hall One Percent Foundation. Through this initiative, he supports families and babies grappling with preemie diagnoses, childhood obesity, and food insecurity, embodying the ethos of giving back and lifting others up.

He has come a long way, and it started with his mother’s decision to choose hope and love over fear and despair. 

Hall’s story serves as a poignant reminder that every life, regardless of its rocky beginnings or daunting challenges, deserves the opportunity to flourish. His journey from a fragile preemie to an NFL athlete underscores the power of hope and faith to shine light onto the dark, uncertain paths we sometimes must walk to become who we are meant to be.


Open Arms Real Choices Clinic would like to help women in crisis find that light of hope and empower them with the knowledge and courage they need to choose life. To learn more about what we do here, to talk to a nurse about your pregnancy concerns, or to support the work of Open Arms, please contact us or explore the resources available on our website.

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