First Way Pregnancy Center welcomes second ultrasound machine

Suzanne Helzer, nurse manager at First Way, shows Dr. William Chavira the new ultrasound machine.
Suzanne Helzer, nurse manager at First Way, shows Dr. William Chavira the new ultrasound machine. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Friends, supporters and staff of First Way Pregnancy Support Center gathered Dec. 12 to celebrate the advent of the facility’s second ultrasound machine.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix was on hand to bless the new machine and noted that it was “most fitting” that the occasion coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

He commented on a portion of the account of creation that was read at the beginning of the blessing, noting that after each day, “God saw that it was good” but that after He created man and woman, He saw that it was “very good.” Man and woman, he said, were created in the image and likeness of God. [quote_box_right]

First Way Pregnancy Support Center

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“That’s why it’s so important to have an image and why it makes such a difference to women when they see this image of their child,” Bishop Olmsted said.

With improved technology, ultrasound pictures of the unborn child are not the grainy affair that they once were. The figures that dance on the screen are a glimpse into the hidden reality of life inside the womb – a reality that often persuades women to give birth rather than abort.

Suzanne Helzer, nurse manager at First Way, said the second ultrasound machine would allow the support center to double its efforts serving women. The ultrasound images “can be the difference between life and death,” Helzer said. “It can change their outlook when they see it,” Helzer said.

Bishop Olmsted blessed First Way's new ultrasound machine and thanked the Knights of Columbus for their consistent support of pro-life efforts.
Bishop Olmsted blessed First Way’s new ultrasound machine and thanked the Knights of Columbus for their consistent support of pro-life efforts. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Bishop Olmsted said that the Aztecs knew the image on St. Juan Diego’s tilma was that of a pregnant woman by the black ribbon tied about her waist. The purpose of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s appearance in Mexico, he said, “was Jesus, so that people would discover Him.”

“What a perfect day to celebrate and bless the machine that creates the true image of the child within the womb,” Bishop Olmsted said. “Each of these is an image that reflects God.”

Christine Accurso, executive director of First Way, said that the room where the second ultrasound machine stands would be dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in honor of Dr. William Chavira, the longtime medical director of the center.

“During these past 11 years that I’ve been able to serve as medical director, I’ve seen the growth of First Way, especially under Christine’s leadership,” Dr. Chavira said. “This is a place of welcome, of life and support…It is truly a privilege to serve here.”

Bishop Olmsted thanked the Knights of Columbus for their “consistent support of pro-life things and for once again making it possible for us to have an ultrasound machine.”

Larry Becker, state deputy for the Knights, was on hand and said that the culture of life is this year’s theme for the Knights in the State of Arizona. The money was raised through the creative fundraising of eight councils. The machine cost $77, 150.

Accurso said that First Way has some 400 visits per month. The center is open 48 hours a week, Monday through Saturday.