Super Bowl benefit held for Hattiesburg couple

Super Bowl benefit held for Hattiesburg couple

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Bars across the country held Super Bowl parties to celebrate the big game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. However, one Hattiesburg bar decided to hold a party with a deeper purpose.

The Gate Bar and Grill hosted a benefit along with a Super Bowl party for Samantha Powers and Michael Woodard, who lost their unborn child after Powers was diagnosed with the flu.

Powers found out she was pregnant in October after being involved in a car accident on Highway 11 in Petal.

"We went to the emergency room, and they did some blood work," said Powers. "They came back and told us they were expecting."

Woodard said around Christmas, Powers started showing flu-like symptoms, such as heavy coughing and a fever as high as 104 degrees.

"The day after Christmas, that's when they told us she had the flu," said Woodard.

As the days went on, Powers started feeling worse.

"They told us she had MRSA pneumonia," said Woodard. "They said it's like a staph infection of the bloodstream."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics.

Powers spent four weeks in the hospital, where she was heavily sedated. While Powers was in the hospital, Woodard received the tragic news.

"Two and a half to three weeks of her being in the hospital, that's when we found out that our baby did not make it, because her condition was so bad," said Woodard.

Woodard didn't tell Powers about the loss of their child until a week later, because she was so heavily sedated. She was five months pregnant.

"Finding out about the baby and all that happened," said Powers, "it was the most difficult part of the situation."

Powers was released from the hospital Feb.

Owner of The Gate Bar and Grill, Larry Phariss, said he wanted to help. Woodard is a current employee of The Gate while Powers is a former employee. Phariss organized a benefit for the couple, where they sold food plates and held a silent auction.

Powers and Woodard say even though the healing process has been difficult, they feel blessed to have such a strong support system in their corner.

"When you realize how blessed you are to have so much friends and family that are there for you and willing to do so much for you, you're taken aback by it," said Powers.

The CDC says women who are expecting are at higher risk for the flu due to changes in their immune systems.