The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center launched a fundraising effort for a new mobile ultrasound unit designed to service rural areas in the Lynchburg region.

      The mobile unit will allow the center to reach areas where women would otherwise have to make a long commute to take advantage of the free services.

      “It allowed us basically to put feet to what we do … and just to reach more women,” said Stephanie McBride, the center’s development director.

      The nonprofit held an “open house” for the mobile unit Tuesday at Grace Church on Timberlake Road.  It will be on display today at the Kidz Kraze consignment sale at First Church of the Nazarene from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursday at Grace Church from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

      The center is attempting to raise about $175,000 to fund the unit, a partnership with ICU Mobile to provide limited obstetrical ultrasounds to Central Virginia communities without a nearby pregnancy center.

      “We are excited to join forces with ICU Mobile to bring a new level of pregnancy care service and ministry to Lynchburg and surrounding areas,” said Lori Meetre, executive director of the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, in a news release.

      “Together we can make a greater impact for LIFE.”

      McBride said Tuesday she expects demand for ultrasound services to increase, considering the recent bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly requiring women considering an abortion to have a limited obstetrical ultrasound.

      The center provides ultrasound and other services, including counseling and pregnancy tests, for free.

      “We felt like there was a need in other communities for what we do,” McBride said.

      The unit costs just under $149,000, McBride said. The balance of the fundraising goal is to help in the operation of the unit.

      McBride said last year the center provided 233 ultrasounds, 683 pregnancy tests and saw over 1,700 clients. 

      McBride said the center hopes to have the new unit operational by October.

      For more information about the open house contact BRPC at (434) 528-9750.