We are excited to announce the winners for Hand to Hold’s Fourth Annual Preemie Power Photo and Essay Contest as Premature Awareness Month wraps up and we approach the Thanksgiving season! Our fearless judges that families nominated in our NICU Heroes Award contest had the difficult job choosing the winners from an outstanding cast. Our thanks go to Neonatologists Dr. Gerard Cleary (PA), Dr. John Loyd (TX), Dr. Anthony Orsini (NJ), and Dr. Jorge Rojas (TN) and NICU Nurses Amy Garrett (AR) and Suzie Glass (TN).
Truly, each little hero and what they have accomplished and what they have been through amaze and inspire us all. (More than one tear was shed, I can assure you!) That’s why each special story, as many as we can, we will trickle out on our preemie power blog throughout the year and post on our Hand to Hold facebook page to give hope and inspiration to families throughout the year.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
Age 0 to 6 Months
|Age: 6 months
Weight at Birth: 4 Pounds 8 Ounces
Weeks Gestation: 30 weeks 5 days
Time spent in the NICU: 38 days
Super Hero Characteristics Amazing, Strong and Victorious
Read his story online.
Age 7 to 12 Months, Overall Winner, & Thundering Thurston Award (most votes)
|Age: 9 months
Weight at Birth: 1 lb 2 oz
Weeks Gestation: 28
Time spent in the NICU: 4 months 27 daysSuper Hero CharacteristicsStamina- he might be tiny but everyday he builds up his core and will keep pushing through. He will achieve great things in life.Healing Ability- He always recovers quickly and effortlessly. Nothing will keep him down!Spread Joy- He has and will continue to touch many peoples hearts! Ari-tron lights up a room with his smile. It’s 1 in a million.Read his story online.
Age 1+ to 3 Years
Weight at Birth: 2 lbs 3 oz
Weeks Gestation: 25
Time spent in the NICU: 72 daysSuper Hero Characteristics Ezra the Jedi Padawan has demonstrated STRENGTH, in both his will and his spirit. We are always amazed at the things that he couldn’t do yesterday, are his favorite things to do today.He is TENACIOUS, always a fighter and guiding us in his journey.His determination is contagious.HOPEFUL, our Jedi Padawan has taught us how to never give up the things we have placed in our hearts and to keep believing that anything can happen.Read his story online.
Age 3+ to 5 Years
Weight at Birth: 1110g / 2.2lbs
Weeks Gestation: 27/2
Time spent in the NICU: 222 days (7 months)
Super Hero CharacteristicsFearless – whether it’s trying to climb the peaks of Mount Daddy, or diving into a new food, this girl is fearless. Not wreckless, just fearless. She’s careful about it.Caring – she cares about others and wants to make the world a better place. She’s always helping her little 9mo brother learn things, she’ll go out of her way to avoid squishing slugs and bugs, and is the first person trying to make you giggle if you’re feeling sad.Super Fast – running down the hallway to our apartment door, crawl-racing Mum to bed at night, or zoom-zooming after the cat, Nyana is a speedster and loves to go fast.Super strong – don’t let her little arms fool you! She can pull herself up from impossible angles, climb up people with the greatest of ease, and hang from your neck long enough to make you see stars.Read her story online.
Age 5+ Years
Weight at Birth: 17 1/2 oz
Weeks Gestation: 23
Time spent in the NICU: 123 days (4 months)
Super Hero CharacteristicsHannah is a strong, brave fighter who never refuses to give up. No matter what circumstances come her way, Hannah does not give up until she has defeated them.
Hannah is compassionate for everyone who can’t help themselves and those who need extra support. Recently, Hannah has carried her best friend under her wing since her friend’s mom lost her battle to cancer. Hannah has never left her friend’s side, dropping everything to rescue her friend from her grief.
Hannah has an undying courage. When she is faced with hard things or issues: challenging school work, unfaithful friends, issues that go against her morals- Hannah is not scared to stand up for what she believes in and tackle it in an assertive, yet graceful manner. Read her story.
Weight at Birth: 688 grams
Weeks Gestation: 26 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: 77 daysSuper Hero Characteristics: Courageous, Compassionate, Resilient, and Strong!! Read his story.
Executive Director’s Award
|Age: Kastyn 20 months/Kenady forever 14 months
Weight at Birth: Kastyn 2lbs/Kenady 1lb 15oz
Weeks Gestation: 26 weeks
Time spent in the NICU: Kastyn 136 days/Kenady 151 daysSuper Hero CharacteristicsKenady could light a room with her smile. She had so many super hero qualities from her smile to her beautiful soul. Her love for others was unconditional. Kenady was a fighter and even after all she went through her super hero attitude shined.Kastyn is resilient and is learning how to navigate this world without his twin. He has so many qualities worthy of a superhero. He is strong and he never gives up on something that he wants. He is compassionate and always seems to know how to make someone smile. He loves to help others and has become very skilled in throwing dirty diapers in the trash for which he then claps for himself. He has determination and he shows it everyday as he learns something new. Read their story.