I am a Texas girl through and through. There is no time this is more apparent than in the wintertime. I hate being cold! Ironically, our family is gearing up for a white Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the holidays with my husband’s family in Michigan. What will keep me warm (other than my snazzy new red coat) is the gratefulness I feel for our volunteers, donors, staff and board who have given so much this year to insure NICU families feel the warmth of support during a difficult journey.
Our network – both in and out of the hospital – empowers parents to become confident care givers and meet the needs of their medically fragile baby. And as babies grow and adapt, so does our organization and the services we offer. Based on direct feedback from hospitals and NICU families, we concentrated our efforts this year on modifying our educational resources to incorporate new topics. We also adopted a new user-friendly format to allow overwhelmed parents to access the right information at the right time. As a result, this year we introduced Navigating The NICU, the second book in our new NICU Handbook Education Series.
Likewise, in 2015, we responded to an increased demand for antepartum support, sibling education and individualized (bedside) support in the NICU. Beyond the hospital doors, we served thousands of families through our online resources. Just last month, we reached one million visits on our parent blog PreemieBabies101.org and 400,000 visitors on our website, HandtoHold.org. This is only further evidence that the need for Hand to Hold continues to grow.
As I reflect on these and other successes of 2015, it warms my heart to think of how many families Hand to Hold has touched this year and the direct impact we are having in their lives during a very challenging time. It is our hope that Hand to Hold will continue to raise the bar for NICU family support and positively influence the standard of psychosocial support provided across the country.
This holiday season, please join me in giving warmth to NICU families through your financial support. When you donate $100 or more during the month of December, we will donate a knitted baby cap to a NICU family for their precious little one to commemorate their first holiday season. You can also make your gift in honor or in memory of a special NICU family or medical professional in your life. Your generosity will be put to use immediately to help reduce the impact of a NICU stay and ensure best outcomes for families! Donate today.
May a grateful heart keep you warm as you celebrate with your family this holiday season!
Kelli D. Kelley