Pro-life Activism

51st Celebration of Life a Night to Remember

Right to Life of Louisville held its 51st Annual Celebration of Life Banquet on Thursday, March 21st at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Nearly 600 profilers came together for a wonderful evening of food, drink, fellowship, and awards!

Early in the evening, Donna Durning Community Award– Donna Durning- accepting on her behalf Laura Strietmann (Executive Director  Cincinnati Right To Life) for her many years of commitment to the prolife cause. Donna Donna  faithfully showed up at the EMW abortion center five days a week from 6:30 a.m. until 9:15 a.m. or later, 52 weeks a year from 1994-2022 because she  believes in the dignity and sanctity of human life. She also believes that women deserve better than abortion. She counseled them to get help and offered them a brochure listing resources as she directed them to Pregnancy Center next door. Donna has helped many women choose life for their unborn children. But it doesn’t end there for Donna. She went the extra mile and offered  financial help as well. One mother she counseled was so thankful that she returned to the sidewalk and gave Donna a picture of her saved baby which was named after Donna. That picture, of course, was kept in her  wallet. The woman expressed her gratitude for Donna being brave enough to approach her on the sidewalk and giving her hope which was the inspiration she needed to make a life-saving decision rather than a life-ending “choice.” Following up with mother and saved baby was a priority for Donna. She would make sure they had a great Christmas and Easter. 

The Margie Mongomery Valor Award was awarded to Bishop Emeritus Joseph E Strickland for being a champion for life for decades. He was presented the 2024 National Pro-Life Recognition Award in Washington D.C. on the day of the annual March for Life. He was an avid supporter of Project Rachel, which offers an encounter with Christ for women grieving an abortion. His most recent endeavor is assisting in the launch of a “Pro-Life University” which will educate in all areas imaginable. It is a free online world class pro-life education equipping people to go into the courts, culture, and family and be able to end abortion in our country. He continues to participate in various state pro-life efforts.

Abby Johnson captivated the audience by providing a full throttled take on the abortion issue and current events. The crowd loved hearing from Abby. During her eight years with Planned Parenthood, Abby quickly rose in the organization’s ranks and became a clinic director. She was increasingly disturbed by what she witnessed. Abortion was a product Planned Parenthood was selling, not an unfortunate necessity that they fought to decrease. All of that changed on September 26, 2009, when Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. She watched in horror as a 13-week baby fought, and ultimately lost, its life at the hand of the abortionist. At that moment, the full realization of what abortion was and what she had dedicated her life to washed over Abby and a dramatic transformation took place. Desperate and confused, Abby sought help from a local pro-life group. She swore that she would begin to advocate for life in the womb and expose abortion for what it truly is. She is a frequently requested guest on Fox News and a variety of other shows and the author of the nationally best-selling book, Unplanned, which chronicles both her experience- es within Planned Parenthood and her dramatic exit.

A record-breaking amount was raised during the event’s financial appeal which will support our education and advocacy work in the local community, our first ever adoption assistance grant was awarded Chris and Riley Sumner, who met in 2009 while leading a middle school youth group in Northern Kentucky. They began dating a few short months later and the rest is history! They were married in 2018 at Saint Henry Catholic Church and live in Northern Kentucky with their newly adopted son, Donovan, and their 3 dogs and 2 cats and are patiently awaiting the arrival of Donovan’s baby sister Vivian. Chris works as a Firefighter/EMT and is currently in paramedic school. Riley works as a medical librarian at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati.

As high school sweethearts, we have shared over 14 years of love and companionship, celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this past November. Throughout our journey, we always knew that we wanted to expand our family, whether through natural means or through the incredible path of fostering and adoption. My husband’s grandparents, who fostered children, and our exposure to families embracing adoption have shaped our understanding of the beauty and significance of this journey.

After enduring four years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, we realized that adoption could be the way to fulfill our dream of parenthood. Our adoption journey began in December 2022, and by February 2023, we completed our home study. The subsequent months were filled with anticipation as we patiently awaited the call that would connect us with our future child.

In October, that call finally came. An opportunity arose to adopt a biracial infant due in May 2024, accompanied by the possibility of adopting a 16-month-old baby boy. We agreed to have our profile book presented, and, to our joy, we were chosen by the birth parents, however, we would only be placed with the infant and not the baby boy. Despite the change of plans regarding the older child, we embraced the opportunity to welcome the infant into our lives. The months between October and December were a whirlwind of emotions as we got to know our birth parents and the little one through doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds.

On December 16th, our birth mother asked if we could reconsider the adoption process for the 16-month-old, so he could join our family alongside his future baby sister. Without hesitation, we agreed and on December 18th, we made the hour-long journey to bring him home, filling our lives with immeasurable joy, love, and laughter.

If you were unable to attend, you can still make a sacrificial gift to support our work.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors who have made this evening possible. Thanks to their unwavering commitment, all proceeds of the evening went directly toward our mission of Changing Hearts & Saving Lives! We thank God for placing them on our path toward a prolife community.