At age 17, Kirk Cameron was on top of the world as an A-List Hollywood star playing Mike Seaver in the hit TV show “Growing Pains.”  If you’d told him then he’d be speaking for the Vitae Foundation some 35 years later, an organization working for the sanctity of human life, he would have said, “You’re crazy!”

It came true, as the actor/producer gave the keynote to over 1,150 people at two Vitae events on Monday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, Mo.

Life took an unexpected turn for Cameron during that 17th year, and an invitation to church from a cute girl changed everything for the teen heartthrob who had grown up an atheist.

“I was on a hit TV show that catapulted me into this world of success—financial success, social success.  I could go to all the big parties and meet all the important people, and that was exciting.  I thought that God was just a dry, boring religion that was meant to snuff out all the fun in life.  That was my perception.  I saw Jesus as part of a different Trinity back then:  Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and God.  I thought I was too smart to believe in stuff that I couldn’t see,” Cameron shared.

Another invitation to church from a trusted friend led Cameron to ask bigger questions, which in turn led him to the deep faith he has today.  He married his “Growing Pains” co-star Chelsea Noble, and together they have six children and their own production company, CAMFAM Films.

So why is the pro-life issue so important to this Hollywood actor and producer of such films as “Unstoppable,” “Mercy Rule,” “Saving Christmas” and the documentary “Monumental”?  The answer is very simple.  There was a woman who was one choice away from terminating her pregnancy.  She chose life and gave birth to a baby girl, and that one decision would have a huge impact on Cameron’s life.

He explained the woman very easily could have had an abortion, but someone came up alongside her and encouraged her to be a hero, and she gave life to that little baby inside of her.

“That little baby turned out to be a little girl.  That girl grew up, got married, and she adopted a little boy with curly blond hair and big green eyes and his name is Jake.  Then she adopted a little girl with big brown eyes, whose name is Bella, who loves to sing.  Then she adopted another little girl, named Ahna, who wants to grow up and be a nurse.  Then she adopted another little boy named Luke who can’t figure out if he wants to be a rapper, Si Robertson or an NBA player.  Then she gave birth to two other little children, Olivia and James.

“I know this story so well because that girl is my wife,” Cameron explained.  “My wife was one appointment away from not existing.  And so were four of my beautiful kids.  If my wife had not been born, neither would my two natural-born kids.  My whole family is here because young ladies were reached with the messages like Vitae is creating.  I’m so thankful for your support, and I applaud you.  I thank you and encourage you to continue to support Vitae and all it’s amazing work.”

Cameron became aware of Vitae’s work a couple of years ago, and it caused him to look deeper into the pro-life issue.  “I was impressed with the videos I was watching about the research that Vitae was doing.  Out in California I know about the powerful work of Pregnancy Resource Centers, but without the research that helps them reach the women where they are, much of that effort can go without the fruit that they are looking for,” Cameron said.  “I’m just thrilled that Vitae is doing this so strategically.”

Vitae’s Senior Market Director Stacey Kromer shared with the crowd that last year Vitae helped connect 10,397 women—who made appointments—with Pregnancy Help Centers (PHCs).

“Our in-house marketing team provides to PHCs services that include search engine optimization, paid Google search, and web hosting.  Because we are doing this in-house, everything remains true to the research,” Kromer stated.

Vitae houses the world’s largest knowledgebase of abortion-decision making and is committed to ongoing research to stay on top of current trends.

“Planned Parenthood has $190 million to spend on marketing, yet abortion activists complain that pregnancy centers do a better job reaching women on Google than abortion facilities.  PHC marketing outperforms abortion providers 5 to 1!  The performance of our ads directly affects the number of qualified leads for PHCs,” Kromer explained.

Vitae President Rob Rysavy told the audience that a couple years ago, a little over 100 pregnancy centers had access to Vitae’s research and digital marketing strategies.  As of today, the number of pregnancy centers that have access to our research and digital strategies is over 320 and it continues to grow.

“In less than two years, we have almost tripled the number of pregnancy centers we are reaching, and we have done so without increasing our budget.  We’ve been able to do that by bringing in- house the things we used to outsource. That saves a lot of money, but now we need to continue our growth. We need to bring more pregnancy centers to a higher level of effectiveness. And for that we need you,” Rysavy stated.

Why is that growth so important?  Research suggests that once Vitae gets to around 700 to 800 pregnancy centers that are effectively employing its research and strategies to reach the abortion-determined women, Vitae can deprive the abortion providers of revenue to the point they are no longer profitable.  That means they go out of business.

“But without Vitae, abortion-determined women all too often end up in an abortion facility instead of a pregnancy center.  Without your help, we can’t reach more of those women,” the Vitae president noted.

Cameron agrees with the basic premise behind Vitae’s research.  By shifting the messaging from the baby, which is essential and important, to the woman, the one who is carrying the baby, we are being pro-woman, pro-mom, pro-health, pro-future, pro-family.  It’s not about the negative, the arguing, the yelling.

“It is about empowering women to make a choice that is going to bring her honor and dignity and allow her to be the hero she was meant to be,” Cameron noted.

If you would like to help Vitae reach more women contemplating abortion—there are 3,000 each day in this country who make that life-ending choice—please go to www.SupportLifeNow.org and know your support will make a difference and create more heroes.