Ruby Love Lambright was just 1.6 pounds when she was born, a micro-preemie who fit into the palm of her mother's hand. The outpouring of support she and her family have since gotten from complete strangers has far outweighed anything her parents could have hoped.
After Lauren Lambright, went into labor at 25 weeks, USA Today reports, the Minneapolis miracle baby spent four months in the NICU and endured heart surgery, blood transfusions and eye exams. These critical lifesaving treatments have cost more than $10,000 –- a steep expense Ruby Love's parents are struggling to afford, according to the family’s Facebook page.
Ruby Love left the hospital in October and now weighs more than 7 pounds, and the struggling family also recently got some good news. They raised nearly $700 for Ruby Love in less than a month, and a local photographer has now turned the Christmas portrait tradition into a way to help.
When Tiffany Kokal, founder of Red Velvet Moments Photography, learned of Ruby Love’s story, she decided to use her talents to help the little fighter. She offered up free family Christmas portraits for two days and just asked that her clients give a donation to the Lambrights in return.
"I'm receiving more than I have ever received all of my Christmas life. Having done this and it makes me want to give more," Kokal told USA Today of her experience.
Kokal’s event alone raised $2,000 for the Lambrights, and the couple has gotten more comfortable reaching out to strangers for help.
“We certainly never thought of asking for help on facebook but we are so overjoyed people would ask us to do so,” the family wrote on its Facebook page. “There are a few areas of need and you can choose to support us in anyway that tugs at your heart because we appreciate any little bit of help we get so very much!”
While the Lambrights have gone through a lot, and Lauren still can’t return to work, they’ve maintained a positive outlook.
“I realized that I want her to know that I believe she is a gift and not just a gift but the BEST gift in the whole wide world,” Lauren wrote of Ruby in a September journal entry on her CaringBridge site. “This whole experience has shown me just how fragile her life is and I am looking forward to every dirty diaper and sleepless night because I will be with her and she will be with me and that is just absolutely amazing!”
Feeling inspired? Find out more about how you can help the Lambright family here.
Click through the slideshow below to see more photos of Ruby Love.
Photos from Miracle Baby Ruby Love (Micro-Preemie)/Facebook/