LONDONDERRY —It's named for an Italian woman who devoted herself to family and gave an ultimate sacrifice to save a child.
And in her memory, a local nonprofit organization hopes to carry on the mission to help others in need.
St. Gianna's Place hosts its Baby Crawl, a family-friendly 5K road race that will raise money to support a home in the Londonderry area to house, educate and support pregnant women in crisis and their babies.
The event is Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Londonderry Town Common.
St. Gianna's Place, incorporated in 2016, is named for Gianna Beretta Molla of Milan, Italy, a mother, physician, and community advocate who died in 1961 at the age of 39 after making a heart-wrenching decision to save the life of her unborn child instead of her own.
St. Gianna's Place is working to carry on the woman's mission to be the voice of the unborn and support young mothers in need.
The group's goal is to provide a temporary place of residence for pregnant mothers in need while offering food, clothing, shelter, spiritual, emotional, social and other forms of assistance.
Other support may include various services like educational resources, life skill counseling and job training.
St. Gianna's Place board president Laura Gandia said the upcoming Baby Crawl will help raise awareness and help the mission support mothers in need.
"Our hope is that this event will not only raise money, but also raise awareness about our mission," Gandia said. "Not everyone in the community realizes how great the need is for a home solely dedicated to pregnant women in crisis in the southern part of the state."
The potential new home will be a safe harbor for women facing pregnancy without financial means and emotional support, Gandia added.
Residents will be allowed to remain at the home for several months after giving birth. Women living at the home would also be assigned a caseworker to help them form the right life plan.
That could mean earning high school diplomas, finding a job, or just working with the mothers on how to raise children and be a good parent.
Gandia said the organization is rooted in strong core values like faith, love, service to others and community service. When the home is secured, she said mothers and their children will be cared for through a community network that involves many other organizations and service groups.
Registration for the Baby Crawl on Oct. 6 begins at 8:30 a.m. with the race beginning at 10 a.m. Parking will be available at Orchard Christian Church, 136 Pillsbury Road.
To learn more about St. Gianna's Place or to pre-register for the Baby Crawl 5K, visit stgiannasplace.org.