HOBART | “Life is by far the most important thing you can possess.”
Acclaimed pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson brought that message Thursday to the 1,075 guests attending the Celebrating Life fundraiser dinner at Avalon Manor honoring The Women’s Center of Northwest Indiana’s 25th anniversary.
Carson, 62, who is retired, is a conservative media columnist.
In 1987, Carson became the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins while director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
That year, he led a 70-member surgical team who worked for 22 hours to separate the Binder twins, who were joined at the back of the head.
Carson is a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics and was the youngest director of pediatric neurosurgery in Johns Hopkins’ history.
In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
A popular figure and columnist in the conservative media, Carson also delivered a widely publicized speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.
During his talk, Carson saluted The Northwest Indiana Women’s Center for its mission to bring a ministry of caring to women facing unplanned pregnancies and difficult choices in their lives.
Opened in 1989 as the Lake County Women’s Center in Merrillville, the pro-life organization has locations in Crown Point, Highland, DeMotte and Valparaiso, said Jackie Moffitt, executive director.
This spring a fifth Women’s Center will open at 137 E. Fifth Ave. in Gary and offer free ultrasound and pregnancy test as well as pregnancy counseling services, Moffitt said as she introduced the staff.
For women who choose to parent, The Women’s Center provides pregnancy support through parenting classes, referrals and a-learn-and-earn program. The center also supplies information on adoption for clients who want to carry their children and are not ready to parent.
“We are so happy to have Dr. Carson as our keynote speaker because he comes from the background of a single mom,” she said. “He knows who we serve.”
Carson told the audience that he had visited the new Gary Women’s Center.
“Thank you for caring so much about life,” Carson said. “(The center) is such a tremendous place. Places like this give me a lot of hope. It’s a place where people really understand how valuable life is.”