‘It’s a moving tribute, a celebration of compassion’

By on September 22, 2023

Why Erin Collins started the Chasing Rainbows Charity Race

Erin Collins organized the race in memory of her son, B.B.Collins. (Photo courtesy of Erin Collins)

After Erin Collins lost her son right before his due date in 2019, she did the only thing she could think of that had gotten her through ups and downs in life. She laced up her shoes and went for a run.

“I’ve always been a runner,” said Collins, explaining that when she needed to clear her mind, or when she was in school and needed to take a break, or when she and her husband would have something they needed to talk about, they’d say, “Let’s go for a walk.”

“You know, everyone has their reasons for running…I had anticipated having a newborn and no time on my hands and was just sitting around and nesting. And then when that didn’t happen, I was just like, ‘what do I do?’” she recounted. Even though it was incredibly hard to leave the house and put her postpartum body through it, she knew that ultimately running would be a big part of her healing.

Since then, Collins has run a race each year benefitting various causes or community members that are meaningful to her, but always honoring her son and carrying his memory with her on those runs. Last year was the first year she didn’t participate in a run.

“And I know it sounds a little weird, but…it just really made me depressed. There’s certain things that when you go through a tragedy, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that expression grief is like an ocean…sometimes it’s a ripple, sometimes it’s a wave. Sometimes it’s like a tsunami, and not having that race or setting aside the time for it just really got to me.”

So this year, on the four-year anniversary of the loss of her child, Collins decided to channel all of that grief into creating her own run—the Chasing Rainbows Charity Race, a 5k community run, walk, or stroll that will take place on Oct. 1 at 103 Veterans Drive in Kill Devil Hills starting at 8:30 a.m.

The event is dedicated to Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month, and to her son, B.B. Collins. Proceeds will go to The Maternal Alloimmunization Foundation and OBX Mommy and Me, a local group of mothers who not only supported Collins through her loss, but also helped her plan the race along with Outer Banks Running Company.

B.B. passed away from hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) caused by maternal alloimmunization. According to Collins, this means that during her pregnancy, her body essentially created antibodies “and those antibodies cross over the placenta, see him as a foreign object, and then attack his red blood cells, causing the baby to become anemic,” explained Collins.

According to the Maternal Alloimmunization Foundation website, this is usually caused by previous exposure to a different blood type, typically from a previous blood transfusion or a previous pregnancy and can be managed if it is caught. Collins said that maternal alloimmunization, and stillbirth in general, is much more common than people realize in this country.

According to legislation that was introduced in Congress this year, 22,000 stillbirth deaths occur nationally each year, a number which has remained largely unchanged for the past 30 years. In North Carolina alone, there are close to 800 stillbirth deaths each year, according to Count the Kicks, an evidence-based campaign that teaches expectant parents about the importance of tracking fetal movements.

Collins hopes that bringing more awareness to these topics will help pregnant women in the future to see signs and advocate for their medical needs. Collins had high antibody counts at the beginning of her pregnancy.

“I feel like if I would have pressed a little harder and gotten the medical care that my son and I deserved, the outcome could have been different,” she said. “Nowadays, the medical field is stressed to the max, and it is important that people not be afraid to demand that their needs and concerns be addressed.”

According to Collins, she’s already heard from a range of people on the Outer Banks that have been affected by the death of an infant in some way. Just the other day, she was in Lowe’s looking for a toilet and the man helping her asked if she was a runner. She told him about her race, and he told her that many years ago, he had twins and one of them didn’t make it.

“And he was a seventy-year-old man. So me and this guy are suddenly standing there crying over the toilets,” she said.

With constant monitoring and medical attention, Collins was able to give birth to a daughter after her son’s death. “So when we have a baby after you have a miscarriage or baby dies, or something like that, it’s called a rainbow baby,” she explained.

At the race, there will be an opportunity for families to use sidewalk chalk to write the name of their lost loved one’s name in remembrance.

“The Chasing Rainbows 5k isn’t just a race – it’s a moving tribute, a celebration of compassion, and a demonstration of solidarity within the community,” said Collins.

Chasing Rainbows Charity Race, a 5k community run, walk, or stroll that will take place on Oct. 1 at 103 Veterans Drive in Kill Devil Hills starting at 8:30 a.m. For more information about the Chasing Rainbows 5k and to register or donate, please visit: https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/KillDevilHills/ChasingRainbows.



Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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