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Special Olympians “Swim for Melissa” to Help Babies

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) –  The ninth annual Swim for Melissa is Saturday. The event along with Friday night’s Miracle Bash benefits the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation. Since 2005, Melissa’s fund has raised more than $1.7 million dollars for the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. That money is used to buy life-saving equipment for babies that come into the world early. One of those babies is swimming this year to make sure others have a fighting chance at life.

Jessica Miles will tell you, "Everyone needs to swim for the babies." The 13 year old loves swimming as much as she does babies so when she found out she could dive in and raise money for little miracles in the NICU, she was "super excited!" Jessica swims with other special Olympic athletes for the Decatur Surf! And she’s a pretty good swimmer. She’s competed at the local, regional, state and national level. "I got two gold medals for backstroke and I got another gold medal for freestyle and relay," she told us.

No one is more proud of Jessica than her mother, Dena Griffin.  With a huge grin on her face, she said, "Oh yeah. Yeah, you can see how whenever I start talking about it, I can’t stop smiling. Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool."

Jessica and her twin sister Kaylynn were born 16 weeks early on October 20th, 2000. Kaylynn died 11 days later. Jessica spent the first five months of her life in the NICU. By swimming, she’s now giving back for the care that she and her sister received years ago. Dena said, "She knows that she’s helping babies just like her. She loves to help babies period. But to help babies like her, yeah, she really likes that."

Kellie Sims coaches all of the special Olympic teams in Decatur. She’ll be bringing the Decatur Surf to Swim for Melissa for the second year in a row. It’s their way of giving back to the community. And no one is more excited about getting in the water and swimming for Melissa than Jessica Miles. She says, "It makes me feel happy."  But we're not talking just happy, Jessica says it makes her feel "super happy!"

The Decatur Civitan Club is helping some of the team members make the trip by paying their registration fee. For more on this year's Miracle Bash and Swim for Melissa, click here.