As a member of the Mississippi Riverkings, defenseman David Simoes has made a living playing hockey...
But these days, hitting the ice is the furthest thing on his mind..
David and his wife Mary welcomed their first child, Lucia Elizabeth in February.
There was only one problem...little Lucy was born 12 weeks premature, weighing in at just 1 pound, 10 ounces.
"Everything was looking o.k, I was just measuring a little small, so they ordered an ultrasound and there was no fluid in there, so they put me on a movement monitor. She had no surges or movements, so the doctors talked a while and told me they were gonna have to deliver her that day at 28 weeks," says Mary Simoes.
After spending over 2 months in the hospital, Lucy finally came home on Mother's day.
Her continued need for special care has kept the couple in Southaven during the Riverkings offseason.
(David Simoes) "It was definitely very hard, but we had a lot of support from good people around here. We're so blessed and thankful for Germantown Methodist, they have such a great NIC U there."
Like most young families, the Simoes struggle with the day to day expenses associated with caring for a premature infant.
Adding to their financial stress is the fact that David is Canadian, and has a work visa that only allows him to play hockey.
But Mary says, David's not being able to work, is actually a blessing.
"We think how fortunate we are that David was able to get time off from hockey when he needed it, to be there during the season. Then after, just fortunate with that kind of job where he's around and we have time together."
The Riverkings organization and fans have done their part to ease the Simoes' burden by donating proceeds from T-shirts and luncheon's in Lucy's honor.
An outpouring of support for this new family.
"The Riverkings fans have been amazing. Just the generosity and kindness and thoughtfulness."
"They're fans, we don't' know them. It's pretty amazing how many good people there are in this area."
Although she's still on a heart monitor, Lucy's health continues to improve.
The Simoes say they'll stay in the MidSouth through the summer.
If you would like to help the Simoes family, go to the Facebook.com and search "Lucia Elizabeth Simoes" for more information.