Engage. Educate. Equip. Empower.
ComfortCare Women's Health • Winter 2023 Newsletter
ComfortCare Women’s Health opened its doors 40 years ago.

40 years of serving women. 40 years of advocating for life.

As we consider what lies ahead, I can’t help but first consider all that have come before and shaped this ministry. God has led each of those individuals to be a part of His plan and as the current President/CEO, I want to say thank you. ComfortCare Women’s Health would not be a thriving, faith-filled, servant-hearted ministry if it wasn’t for the many that have said “yes” over the years.  
With that perspective, we want to take you on a walk down memory lane this year. Each newsletter will offer components of where we have come from and where we are going. Today, we will take a deeper look at the ministry of our advocates. I will never forget one of the first appointments I observed. I watched a woman, tense and closed off, wanting nothing beyond the results of her pregnancy test. The advocate, unwavering in her approach, sat down and spoke into this woman’s life. She affirmed her. She encouraged her. Over the course of the appointment, the patient softened and at one point, even fell into tears over all that she was carrying. The advocate helped that patient feel seen that day. And heard. And empowered. She made a difference for life in that appointment – life for a patient and her child.  

Who doesn’t want to be seen? This work is heavy and I am blessed to witness the many volunteer and staff advocates that have so lovingly given their hearts to these women over the years. Will you join us in celebrating these selfless individuals today – would you join us in showing them that they too are seen and loved?
We asked a few of our patient advocates to share how their role has changed since 1983 and how they see the ministry growing to continually serve women well as we move forward. These were their responses...
How have you seen the ministry of advocating for our patients evolve over the past 40 years? The largest age group we serve has gradually crept up from young women in their teens to those in their twenties and even thirties. In the beginning, most were experiencing their first pregnancy. Many are now experiencing second, third or even fourth. As advocates, we’ve had to adjust to that changing culture in order to meet her where she is. 

What were the primary needs of our patients when you first started? In the beginning, sharing the truth about abortion, development of the baby, as well as, exploring her knowledge of adoption were key factors in supporting a choice for life. So, education was key. Providing material support was also key to these patients and knowing they had that support often tipped the decision. 

What do you see as the primary needs for our patients today? Because the patients we see today have grown up knowing about abortion, how we give education is more complex. Connecting facts to her core beliefs goes hand-in-hand with education, empowering her to choose life. Sounds simple, right? Not! It’s complicated, but with God “all things are possible.” We do our part and trust God with the results – no matter what they are.

-Lola Widener, Senior Staff Patient Advocate
What is the significance of the advocate role in this ministry?
Advocates are specially trained to listen, educate, and empower each patient as she faces an unplanned pregnancy. They are uniquely positioned to calm her fears and reduce anxiety by providing accurate information and practical assistance. Any choice she makes will be life changing, but she is not alone and her advocate’s support is unconditional.  

Having been an important part of shaping the ministry, what are your hopes for ComfortCare in the future? ComfortCare Women’s Health is and will always be a beacon of help and hope in our Valley. My hope is that ComfortCare will be the first call she makes and that the choice of abortion will no longer be desired in our community and all across the world. 

-Deb Fann, Former President & CEO, Volunteer Patient Advocate
What encourages you about how the advocate role at ComfortCare is evolving as we step into our next 40 years? With the growing ease of access to information, I’m encouraged that we have an opportunity to sit with our patients and process the information with them. Technology and information in itself isn’t bad. By itself, however, it isn’t going to put her at the center. When she visits, we have an opportunity to share factual information and shine light on common misconceptions or lies. We also can give her space to acknowledge what decisions are based on fear (and what information she is finding that ignites that fear) and what decisions are based on truth. We can truly put her at the center and support her as she sees the strength and abilities she possesses. It’s a true gift to be used by God in this way!

-Christiana King, Staff Patient Advocate
SEND our advocates an encouraging card!
Mail card to ComfortCare Women's Health, PO Box 924, Staunton, VA 24402

JOIN the 12:12 Prayer Network to continually lift up our patient needs as they happen. Click here to learn more and sign up today.

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Get to know our Staff Members
VP of Operations

Tell us about your family:  I am married to Jamie. This year was our 25th wedding anniversary. He works for Hollister as an IT Specialist. Our son, Tyler, is a senior at Stuarts Draft High School this year. He’s in the marching band as a percussionist and is also in the Civil Air Patrol.

How long have you been involved with ComfortCare? I have been involved for 15 years.

What led you to ComfortCare?  Admittedly, I was just following the bread crumbs God laid out before me. My mom has volunteered for a very long time so I was familiar with CCWH. Then in 2004 my husband and I attended the banquet where they were trying to raise money for an ultrasound. I was pregnant at the time so I was the model for the ultrasound during the banquet (my son was a star before he was even born). Then, a volunteer back in 2006 asked me to fill in for her on her maternity leave. I had quit working full-time shortly after having Tyler. So I came and filled-in for 3 months. But while I was here, a new position opened up and I took that.

What inspires you about this ministry?   I love how we help women make better decisions by allowing them to talk through the decision-making process and showing them how capable they really are. We, as an organization, understand that life-changing decisions should not be done quickly and without time to process everything.

Who has been an inspiring influence in your life and why?  I think there have been a couple of people that can fit into this place for me. One is my mom. She always showed us ways that Christ is in our everyday world. Like, if we saw an ambulance/fire truck/policeman on the road with lights and sirens, she would have us say a prayer quietly about the situation they were responding to. Or in everyday conversations, she never shied away from sharing what miracle had happened to us or what blessing we may have been given. The other would be my youth minister. He had a zest for Christ and for life. He showed us how to have fun and be a Christian at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive concepts as sometimes people thought they had to be when I was growing up.

What is your favorite place to vacation? We are campers so I get several “vacations” a year. We go to different places we’ve never been but, there are some trips we do year after year. So I like to mix it up between new, fun places and the tried and true spots.

What is your favorite way to relax? Reading a book in the quiet. Life is noisy and sometimes chaotic so anywhere I can sneak away and read is nice.

Coffee or Tea? Most assuredly – tea. But, it has to be cold, not hot tea. Oh, and not southern sweet tea, a mildly sweet tea. 

Get to know our Board Members
Board Member

Tell us about your family:  After Jesus, Sue is the great love of my life and my wife of 31 years. I have one stepson, who has an amazing wife and 3 children, a girl and 2 boys, ages 10, 8 and 6. Spending time with them and working on our shared farm keeps me busy!

How long have you been involved with ComfortCare?  I had been peripherally involved with Caring Pregnancy Centers in Colorado. Shortly after moving to this area 5 years ago, I found out about ComfortCare through Grace Presbyterian Church in Lexington, and became friends with Curt Wilbur, CC’s Board Chair Emeritus, who introduced me to the ministry.

What led you to ComfortCare? See above. I was moved to become more involved in the Caring Pregnancy Center movement by my growing understanding of God’s love for all people from the moment of conception (and even before!), and the Biblical mandates to speak up for those who have no voice and to care for the widow and orphan in their distress.

What inspires you about this ministry? It is Christ-focused and so timely. This is a watershed moment in our nation. God is calling us all to repent of our idolatries, especially the idea that “it’s my body.” In these dark times, the church must bear witness to the sanctity of all life and put our money where our mouth is by helping women and couples who struggle with unplanned pregnancies, helping them care for the offspring of those who choose life, and helping women who have aborted to recover. ComfortCare is perfectly poised to assist the church to fulfill this mission.

Who has been an inspiring influence in your life and why?
I have several faithful friends who have encouraged me in my faith by their example of honesty, integrity and sacrifice for the cause of Christ. As far as public figures, Abraham Lincoln had a clear testimony of his faith by his bold stand against slavery and by his support of widows and orphans, who may be likened in our times to single moms and children given up for adoption. The plight of enslaved persons prior to emancipation is quite similar to that of unborn children in our age.

What is your favorite place to vacation? North Myrtle Beach!

What is your favorite way to relax?
Swimming/floating, playing games with my grandchildren, pickleball, and playing ukulele.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, for sure.