If it were not for the decision by a young missionary, there might not be such a thing as Tebowing.
Pam Tebow of Florida will tell central Pennsylvanians later this month why she did not abort her unborn child 25 years ago - a child who would grow up and become an NFL quarterback.
She will speak at the Precious Life banquet to be held at 7 p.m. March 22 at the Jaffa Shrine Center. Tickets are $20.
She also will speak at a Precious Life breakfast to be held at 9 a.m. March 23 at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown. Tickets are $10. Pastor Scott Manganella, director of Precious Life, said Pam Tebow was advised to abort her unborn son and fifth child while she and her husband, Bob, were serving as missionaries in the Philippines.
Her decision was first made public in 2007 when ESPN interviewed her after Tim Tebow received the Heisman Trophy during his sophomore year at the University of Florida, according to the Ambassador Speakers Bureau website.
Now, she rarely gives interviews.
If you go
What: Precious Life Banquet
When: 7 p.m. March 22
Where: Jaffa Shrine Center
Speaker: Pam Tebow
Tickets: Call 944-2669
Breakfast: Pam Tebow also will speak at a breakfast at 9 a.m. March 23 at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown. For tickets, ($10) call the above number.
She did, however, speak on the phone to Manganella about Precious Life, a crisis pregnancy organization that assists young women through their pregnancies as well as the adjustment period during the first few years of the child's life if necessary.
"She is very gracious," Manganella said.
"She was very surprised about our work in Romania," he said. "Most crisis pregnancy centers don't do that."
Manganella was referring to Precious Life's ministry to the European country. Volunteers travel to Romania once or twice a year to care for babies abandoned in hospitals and work with people in a gypsy village.
Through My Brothers Keeper, a nonprofit organization in Roxbury, Pa., Precious Life also supports three workers who give purity presentations at Romanian high schools and other outlets where youth gather. One of the presenters, Alina Livanu, will speak about her work at the banquet.
In addition to the work in Romania, Manganella said Pam Tebow was impressed that Precious Life has a maternity house and long-term transitional housing for new moms.
Manganella said even crisis pregnancy centers in major American cities don't offer all the services that Precious Life does.
Organized in 1985, Precious Life has helped thousands of young women through pregnancy or with needs after the baby is born.
He said Precious Life started 28 years ago with basically a 24-hour hotline in a borrowed office at the Knickerbocker.
Today, it has centers in Johnstown and Bedford with the Altoona office alone helping more than 500 women and teens a year. He said about 60 percent of those women and teens are pregnant.
Through the years, the needs have changed.
"We are not seeing as many teen pregnancies as much as we are college-age women, ages 18 to 24," he said. "They are the largest group we see."
Not all of them are college students, but they fall in that age group.
And while the need for housing is not as necessary as it was 20 years ago, women still use the maternity house that is currently occupied. The two apartment home includes house parents on the first floor.
In today's world, women are more in need of support services after the birth.
Manganella said Precious Life gives them with baby clothes, playards, such as Pack 'n Plays, and car seats.
The women can earn "baby dollars" to buy these baby items and others, such as diapers, through the organization's Earn While You Learn program. Mothers earn "baby dollars" by watching videos on subjects such as parenting, receiving counseling, learning first aid or taking a class in nutrition.
If an expectant mother is not sure what her plans are after the birth, Precious Life offers counseling on the options: adoption, abortion and keeping the child.
"Most choose to keep the baby," Manganella said.
For those who need help getting back on their feet, Precious Life provides apartments in Johnstown and Altoona through its long-term transitional housing program.
"Some still get abortions," Manganella said. He said about a dozen young women each year consider it with about 50 percent going through the procedure.
Some of them return to Precious Life with questions and for post abortion counseling.
They ask Manganella: "What can I do? I can't sleep. I have nightmares."
Another way the pregnancy care minister helps the young mothers is through its warehouse of home improvement items, provided by Home Depot.
Manganella said Precious Life may replace a bathroom sink or take on another necessary household repair.
And because it is a 501c3 organization, Precious Life can send items to Romania.
Manganella said the poverty there is the reason mothers leave the hospital without their offspring.
He said they may be married and already have four or five children at home and not be able to care for another one.
On their trips to the Eastern European country, volunteers from Precious Life bath, fed and cuddle the babies.
Working to prevent such scenarios are the Romanians who give purity presentations.
They talk to about 2,000 teens in four cities every month in Romania.
Manganella said after a presentation, Romanian girls have been known to say, "It never occurred to me that I can say no."
He said since its humble beginnings, Precious Life has become "quite an expansive ministry."
"We are here to help, give hope and provide an secure environment," he said. "We try to meet needs the best we can.