Clarence and Grace Ewart celebrate Grace’s 65th birthday at Ironwood Place.

Big birthday for a wee lass

On August 21, 1947 the nurses at Duncan’s King’s Daughters Hospital named their one pound, four ounce new arrival “Persistence”

On August 21, 1947 the nurses at Duncan’s King’s Daughters Hospital named their one pound, four ounce new arrival “Persistence,” a fitting moniker for one of the tiniest babies ever born in BC.

Sixty-five years later Grace Ewart has celebrated her landmark birthday with husband Clarence, sister Edith, care givers and friends at the Ironwood Place in Campbell River.

Grace, born two and a half months premature, was big news around the province in the 1940s. At the time of her birth her doctor, C.H. Beevor-Potts, was optimistic that her “stubborn” will to survive and her stamina would carry her through the first critical days of life outside the womb.

One month later Grace had gained eight ounces. Hospital matron Bertha Jenkins said: “She is doing splendidly and is going to survive. We are going to see that she does live.” By October the hospital staff was describing the 33 ounce baby as “chubby.”

Community Living BC care giver Allan Richard has been at Grace’s side for seven years and says she fits her maternity ward nickname Persistence “to a T.”

“She’s one feisty woman,” Richard says. “She fights daily to keep her independence.”

While Grace does not fully comprehend how rare her birth was, she is very aware that her life is special. Her survival against incredible odds has placed her in a select group. Dr. Edward Bell of the University of Iowa keeps a database of the world’s smallest surviving one-pound babies. It contains less than 150 dating back to 1936.