Lauren Monroe doesn’t have a NICU experience, but she does relate to the difficulties that parents can encounter when trying to start a family. It was this personal experience that led her to Hand to Hold’s website, where she discovered all of the avenues of support Hand to Hold offers to NICU and bereaved families. Monroe wanted raise awareness of the struggles parents face, and her desire to give back was ignited.
Monroe is the owner of Mimosa Boutique, a women’s clothing store in Lake Charles, Louisiana. With a passion for fashion and a love of event planning, Monroe and her team have created Fashion Gives Back, a charity runway show that has become one of the most sought-after events in the Lake Charles area. This year’s event, which took place on September 27, sold out its 1000 seats in less than 24 hours. Monroe donates 100% of the proceeds to Hand to Hold to benefit NICU families.
There are so many organizations out there that you could support. Why did you feel called to create this event to benefit Hand to Hold? Do you feel emotional support for NICU moms is especially lacking in the Lake Charles area?
I love the way Hand to Hold supports families emotionally. The hardest part of these difficult situations is the lack of understanding you get from people around you. I love that Hand to hold can partner parents with others who completely understand what they are going through. I feel like women don’t openly talk about their struggles with their babies, whether that is in the NICU journey, losing a child, trying to conceive a child and many other struggles. It’s too hard to talk about. But so many women face these issues and we can support each other.
Fashion Gives Back has become such a huge event in your area that brings together so much of the community. What is the most rewarding part for you in putting together this event?
The most rewarding part of Fashion Gives Back is for me to talk to women after the show who can share their story and know they are not alone. The women that come up to me and say, “Thank you for this, because I struggled in the NICU and had no one to turn to.” The women who come up to me and tell me, “I didn’t want to come to this fun event because I was too sad after losing my baby, but I know I’m not alone.” And obviously it’s a great feeling when the crowd loves the fashion that we put together!
What are your future dreams and goals for Fashion Gives Back? For NICU and bereaved parents?
I would love to have someone from Hand to Hold designated specifically to our Lake Charles hospitals to offer them support. I would also love to incorporate a grant process and grant a family a free round of IVF, as I know that can be impossible for some families.
Because of her dedication and unwavering support for NICU families, Hand to Hold has named Monroe our first ever Family Support Champion. Thank you to Lauren Monroe and the rest of the Mimosa Boutique team for being such dedicated champions for NICU families!