When my little one was born unexpectedly early after a maternity ward tour, I never dreamed our child would have difficulties breathing. It never crossed my mind that an intensive care admission was a remote possibility and that I would have to leave my baby in the hospital after I was released to go home. The shock of it all still takes my breath away when I reflect back on those years ago. After we adjusted to our new “normal” of NICU life, the nursing staff at our hospital took us under their wing as they cared for our daughter and invited us to participate in her care. I’ll never forget how happy I felt when I first got to hold my daughter skin-to-skin, rocking away in a glider they had in the NICU for the precious moments we had together that first time. My husband and I were so very grateful for not only the exceptional care our daughter received but also the care we personally received and we so much wanted to give back to our hospital in some way. Eventually, I connected with a dear friend, also a preemie mom, who started Hand to Hold in order to help more families in the NICU have access to the support they needed. By joining the Hand to Hold team, I finally found my place where I could make a difference everyday.
If you’ve spent time in the NICU, the details of your story may be different, but perhaps you also share a desire to make this journey easier for fellow NICU parents. Maybe you also remember the moments when time stood still and you could hold your baby close skin-to-skin and be together. Passing on the gratitude can be part of the healing process for families and it certainly was for mine. That is why Hand to Hold is holding its second annual NICU Grand Prize Giveaway. This awareness and fundraising campaign invites families who want to give back to share their story and raise vital funding to be used to provide more support and education for NICU families across the country. Best of all, the top fundraiser will have the opportunity to gift a prize package worth $5K to their favorite NICU. The prize includes a recliner/glider for kangaroo care, Boppy pillows and slipcovers to make feeding easier, “Zaky” developmental care positioners from Nurtured by Design and educational materials from Hand to Hold.
Last year, our first year for the contest, Tracy and Matt Regusci won the prize on behalf of their twin boys who received care from San Luis Obispo’s Sierra Vista Medical Center. They were able to present the prize to their hospital at a special presentation last summer. What a surprise it must have been for the hospital to learn they would be receiving a prize package that would help their NICU and the families they see everyday!
The NICU Grand Prize Giveaway wraps up March 27, 2015, so be sure to sign up now. There are no fundraising minimums to participate and there are fun incentives along the way including something special for the first 25 participants who sign up. Help us pay it forward to NICU families across the country and at your favorite hospital NICU, too.