Camila Christine “CeCe” Barnes Memorial Scholarship

Camila Christine “CeCe” Barnes was born on June 2nd, 2022.  She was 8 lbs 8 oz. and 21.5 inches long.  Camila had a full head of hair, a round little face and a very loud first cry. Many of you (students) got to see her grow, predict her gender, her due date, which sibling she’d look most like, etc.  But no one predicted that she would be born with a heart defect, let alone a fatal defect.  In the first minutes of her life she was so loud and strong that we didn’t know anything was wrong.  Until her oxygen levels plummeted.  However, she continued to have a strong cry.  She truly perplexed everyone in the delivery room.  She was rushed to the NICU at Genesis East where the nursing staff worked efficiently and passionately to figure out what was going on with our little girl.  Every intervention the staff tried that should’ve worked did not, as one nurse said, bittersweetly, “She was a stubborn little one and proved us wrong every chance she got.”

The staff prepared her to be life flighted to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital where they had the necessary equipment for her survival.  At the U of I it was determined that Camila had a very rare heart defect known as TAPVR – total anomalous pulmonary venous return.  Despite every effort made, our baby girl lived to be just 40 hours old.  Our hearts were forever broken that day and having to explain her death to her older siblings, Oliver, Amelia and Calvin has been beyond difficult, as it will be to explain to her little sister, Elaina as she grows up.

After Camila’s passing and services, we met up with several of her NICU nurses to see the faces she saw and to fill in gaps of time where we didn’t know what CeCe was experiencing.  When talking with one of her nurses we were discussing “the point.”  What is the point of her loss, what was her purpose for her short time here with us?  One of her nurses answered, without hesitation, “To teach.  Her purpose to each of us is to be a teacher.  She’s bringing people together and teaching us (about prenatal development).  She’s teaching us about connections.”  So that’s why this endowment has been created – we want CeCe’s purpose to be just that – teaching and connection.  The Camila Christine “CeCe” Barnes Memorial Endowment will be awarded to a Central DeWitt High School senior pursuing a degree in education planning to teach and create connections, just like our baby girl in the picture with her sweety, chubby face.

Online Scholarship Application Form