Captain E was the only baby I had the pleasure of delivering with Ray but I saw him many times during my pregnancies with Gigi and Peach. With my first visit with Gigi I was bleeding and I remember being worried I was losing the pregnancy. Somehow the clinic lost that I was suppose to be seen and after waiting there almost two hours with the clinic nearing closing time they realized their mistake and squeezed me in to see Ray right before he left. I had toddler Captain E along with me and I cried while I explained the situation. Ray quickly got up and left the room. When he returned he had an internal ultrasound machine. Explaining the whole process to toddler E he quickly had Gigi on the screen. "Look at your baby's heart beating," he said, "You are not going to lose this baby." From that moment on my loyalty to Ray was sealed and I saw my visits to him as those of seeing an old friend rather than a health care professional. His visits were always so laid back, full of funny stories, and he was so much more relaxed than the other midwives I always preferred him. When the opportunity to go to Jordan pregnant arose I consulted with him first. "Travel," he told me and he filled the appointment with stories of his own time in Israel.
When we left Urbana I was forced to find new health care options. I've always chosen midwives because of Ray but I've never found one quite like him and yet life marches on and while normally you forget those you don't see at least once or twice a year my husband and I will reminisce about something Ray had said or done for us. Then just this last month a friend who still lives in Urbana posted a story about Ray. It turns out that he has ALS. It is traveling so fast that he can no longer practice and has retired so that this month he can take a cross country bike ride across the United States because his doctor doesn't think he will have enough function to do it if he doesn't go now. Ray Spooner is no longer practicing medicine. His gifted hands, his healing soul will no longer be felt by the woman who visit Carle Hospital, and his soft voice will no longer be the first sound heard by new spirits entering this world. His calming presence will be a great loss to Carle, to Urbana Champaign, and eventually and especially I'm sure to his family and friends. This is a great man who chose a small town in Illinois to make the place of his life's work and he touched so many lives in the process. My prayers and love go to him and his family. This video explains a little bit about his new goal and this page links to his fundraiser.