November is National Prematurity Awareness Month and a perfect time to recognize the “super heroes” who’ve won life-threatening battles to simply breathe, regulate body temperature and eat. The journey of premature birth is a difficult one but also provides exciting opportunities for celebration. This fall the second annual National Photo & Personal Preemie Story contest will be held so start gathering recent photos and thinking of names for your preemie super heroes. Click here to see the 2010 entries from families representing 12 states, 27 cities, and 5500+ NICU days at the Preemie Power blog.
Thanks to the 2010 sponsors:
“Thank you for forming such an incredible organization and wanting to help others through this very hard journey. And of course, thank you for creating the preemie power photo contest, it was truly one of the only times that Thurston’s life was all about him and how cute and wonderful and strong he is and not about the hospital life. That really got me through a good month and a half and it was so much fun for all of my family and friends involved. What a great and fun way to raise preemie awareness.” – Donna M., preemie mom
Preemie Power festivities began in October with a call for photo contest participants. Seventy families proudly submitted a recent photo of their preemie, full-term baby who had a NICU experience, or preemie who has passed away (in one of three age groups) and shared intimate details about their miraculous journey. If you have a preemie and wish you had entered the contest, save the date for next October and then click here to receive timely updates on upcoming events.
The judges selected winners from the finalists based on the originality and creativity of the entries as they relate to the super hero theme. Judges included Melissa Gale of KVUE, Kim Pleticha of Parent:Wise Austin; Stephanie Klein, bestselling author, mother, and internationally celebrated blogger; and Dr. John Loyd, a preemie who grew up to become a neonatologist.
The winning contestants ages 0-1 year, 1+ year to 5 years, and 6+ years were announced to the media. The top winner in each category received a prize package valued at worth more than $500 provided by Baby Bugaloo, Babyearth.com, Brilliant Sky Books & Toys, Brooke West Photography and Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop.
Finalists and Winners were announced live at the Preemie Power family celebration event on November 14th. Congratulations to the following preemies and their families!:
Thurston Mossholder of Round Rock received top honors in the 0-1 year old category. “Thundering Thurston” was born at 27 weeks gestation weighing 1 pound 4 ounces. He is now eight months old and currently still receiving care in the NICU. He was nominated by his mother, Donna, who wrote: “Thurston has been the most extraordinary little super hero ever and the best teacher anyone could ever ask for. He has taught me and my family numerous lessons, and in true superhero fashion, has shapeshifted all of us, warming and changing our hearts forever.” Read the full story.
Bryce Moline of Cedar Park was named the winner in the 1+ to 5 years old category. Nominated by his mother Katrina, “The Amazing Bryce-anator” was born at 24 weeks gestation weighing just 1 pound 8 ounces at birth and spent 150 days in the NICU. He is now 16 months old. His mother writes: “In Bryce’s short life he has overcome so much adversity. He has surpassed all expectations and continues to amaze not only us but his doctors and specialists…He is so much more than any medical condition. Bryce epitomizes strength, hope and a real zest for living life with a smile on his face.” Read the full story.
Kate Richmond of Austin was chosen as the top winner in the age 6 and over category. Nominated by her mother Aimee, “Kate the Great” was born at 31 weeks gestation, weighed 3 pounds at birth and spent 3 months in the NICU. Kate is one of six children. Her mother shares, “Kate has faced pretty much every challenge that has been thrown her way. On the night she was born, the doctors came to us and told us that she most likely wasn’t going to make it through the night…Kate astounded all of the doctors and nurses who all said they’d never seen a baby come back from where she had been…Her progress has been nothing short of spectacular.” Read the full story.
Birthday Party & Family Celebration
“Yeah! I said. I felt that way, too! The emotions were flying now, but they weren’t bad ones. They were ones of relief. I’d always known my reactions were perfectly normal. I’d heard other parents talk about it. But to hear someone else say them again — even after all this time — was such a comfort. I felt like I was talking to another veteran, someone who had been on the same battlefield as I had and had made it to the other side, scarred but alive. That’s what the Preemie Power event did for parents. On the surface, it was a party. In reality, it was something deeper.” – Andrea Ball, preemie mom & Austin American-Statesman reporter
In addition to the National Photo & Personal Preemie Story contest, the inaugural Preemie Power family celebration event was held in Austin, Texas featuring birthday party flair, a super hero theme and all of the activities of a good ole’ fashioned fall festival including jumpy houses, inflatable slides, games, treats and more!
In addition to serving as a NICU reunion, Preemie Power also celebrated Hand to Hold’s first birthday ~ a year full of hope and support as staff and volunteers walked with amazing families providing valuable resources both in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and beyond the hospital doors to minimize the trauma associated with a NICU stay and preparing families for the ongoing journey of raising a medically fragile child.
If you have questions, please contact kelli [at] handtohold [dot] org.