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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

A Few Clouds, 76 °F

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Bibbee Scholarship

Shannon and Amanda Bibbee created OHIOMatch scholarships in honor of their daughter, Paige who passed away when she was six days old. Shannon, left, holds son, Patrick, who is Paige’s fraternal twin. Amanda, right, holds the couple’s second son, Dylan.

Photo courtesy of: Bibbee Family

Bibbee Scholarship

Shannon and Amanda at Amanda’s graduation from OHIO’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2005. The Paige Ryan Bibbee scholarships support both Shannon and Amanda’s colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences and Scripps College of Communication.

Photo courtesy of: Bibbee Family

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Bibbees commemorate daughter through Match scholarships


Following his enlistment in the military, Shannon Bibbee, BA ’99, returned to Athens to begin a new job. That decision led him to his future wife and fellow Bobcat, Amanda, BSJ ’05, changing his life forever.

Ever since, the couple has created endless memories, including joyous moments like saying their vows just 11 months after Amanda’s OHIO graduation. Unfortunately, the couple has experienced extreme hardships, too, like the death of their 6-day-old daughter in 2011.

In memory of their daughter, Paige, the couple has established two OHIO Match™ scholarships, the Paige Ryan Bibbee Memorial Scholarship in Communication and the Paige Ryan Bibbee Memorial Scholarship in Arts & Sciences, to honor their daughter while helping fellow Bobcats enrolled in the couple’s former colleges.

“I want to leave a legacy in my daughter’s memory, as it would have been my sincere hope she would have been a Bobcat herself. By doing this, she’ll make a difference in others’ lives forever,” said Shannon, who is currently an officer in the Army Reserve.

For two years, Amanda struggled to get pregnant, wondering if a positive end was in sight. Then, the couple received the exciting news: Amanda was pregnant with not just one, but two babies – a boy and a girl. 

“I was absolutely thrilled. It couldn’t have been more perfect…except for the timing,” Amanda explained. “I was forewarned that twins often come early, which I was aware of and prepared for, but nothing could have prepared me for them to come as early as they did.

Amanda went into premature labor at just 23 weeks – over three months earlier than expected. Because the twins were born so early, their bodies were not prepared to live outside of the womb. Their organs, lungs and intestines were not fully developed. Weighing in at just over one pound each, Paige and Patrick and were placed on ventilators with a series of medications right at their birth.

“Patrick was being given minimal amount of support and was doing okay. Paige was being given the maximum dosages of medications and the maximum amount of support and she was still struggling. There were even times we were called into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit) in the middle of the night because they didn't think Paige was going to make it,” Amanda said. “We would rush to her bedside, and miraculously she would always pull through.”

At 6 days old, a routine morning x-ray showed free air in Paige’s belly, indicating that there was a perforation in her intestines. Paige had necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that attacks the intestines of premature babies. Paige’s health began to deteriorate quickly. She started having seizures and was unable to breath.

“It was clear to us that we had to let her go. We were absolutely devastated. But even if she somehow had pulled through, her quality of life would have been very poor, and as selfish as we wanted to be, she didn't deserve a life like that,” Amanda said. “In our eyes, she had done a job in just six short days that no other could have done.”

Paige passed away that day from the NEC. Although Paige had given her all, Patrick continued to fight, but without many struggles and extreme perseverance. Patrick spent a total of six months in the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) and endured nine separate surgeries. Patrick was eventually released from NCH, which Amanda and Shannon credit to his tremendous strength, as well as the support of fellow Bobcats, the NCH staff and many others.

Since Paige’s passing, Amanda and Shannon have done a tremendous amount of advocacy work for premature babies, special needs children and military families. In between these efforts, in June 2012, Amanda gave birth to Dylan, the family’s second son and Patrick’s little brother.

In addition to their advocacy work, the couple decided to create OHIO Match™ scholarships to benefit Bobcats. Through the two scholarships, full-time undergraduate students who have demonstrated financial need and are enrolled in or accepted for admission to the Scripps College of Communication or the College of Arts & Sciences will be eligible for awards.

Because the scholarships met the requirements of the OHIO Match™, the University will match the Bibbee’s gifts by contributing 50 cents to every dollar donated. Furthermore, Shannon’s civilian employer will match his gifts at a ratio of 3:1. With the combination of the OHIO Match program and Shannon’s employer’s Matching Charitable Gifts Program, the Bibbee’s scholarships will have an impact six times greater than initially expected.

“I've learned that when you lose a child, seeing and/or hearing her name is incredibly special and meaningful. You pick out the most beautiful name you can imagine for your child, and then not to be able to say/hear it on a daily basis is difficult. You want to know others remember her – that her life was meaningful. These two scholarships breathe life into her name, and we're honored to be able to pay it forward on her behalf,” Amanda said.

The OHIO Match program has dedicated $25 million towards OHIO’s endowed scholarship program.

EMBED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsRHMOkmHJo