Prematurity Awareness…what does that mean? It means making sure that people are aware of prematurity. It means telling people that 15 million babies are born prematurely across the globe, and that 1 in 8 babies in the United States is born too early and too small. Telling people is easy – send an email, post on Facebook. Simple. However, helping them UNDERSTAND the magnitude of the problem and motivating them to help make a difference…well that is a totally different job. In order to make someone care enough to make a difference they have to understand, relate, feel something inside that moves them to volunteer, advocate or donate to the cause so that real change can occur.
As the wife of a neonatologist and Founder and President of NICU Helping Hands I can tell story after story of families affected by prematurity. I can share moments of grief, triumph, and overwhelming despair that would make anyone who cares about others want to make a difference. My closest friends say that if anyone can twist someone’s arm to do something it is me. I have no shame when it comes to making a difference in the lives of families facing the hospitalization of their baby in the NICU. I beg, I borrow, and I negotiate. Why? Did I have a baby in the NICU? Did I suffer days, weeks, and months watching my baby struggle to breathe, to simply live, and then to grow? No, I didn’t. Not one single day. In fact I was the mother who had big, healthy boys. I roomed in with them at the hospital and I drove home with them two days later to hold them, rock them, bathe them, and feed them whenever I wanted. Why should I care then about the plight of others who aren’t as “lucky” as me? Because I have seen them. I have seen the tear streaked faces of mothers being told their 1 pound baby will not survive the day. I have seen fathers brought to their knees because they cannot help their wife or save their baby. I have seen families rocked to their very core because of prematurity. This is why I will do whatever it takes to ease the burden of a family who isn’t as “lucky” as me. I see families every day in my job running NICU Helping Hands that just need someone, anyone really, to simply care. I am a firm believer in the passage from the bible found in Luke 12:48. It has been quoted by great men like President John Kennedy and philanthropist Bill Gates – “those to whom much is given much is expected”. I was given much….healthy, full term babies. It is my responsibility to make a difference – this is the “much” that is expected of me and perhaps it is the “much” that is expected of you. To hold the hand of a scared, exhausted mother, to encourage a terrified father to hold his fragile baby before it is too late, to provide a hot meal for a family who has eaten from a vending machine for days, or to provide a playdate for a sibling who hasn’t seen mom or dad for days because they are at the hospital with a baby brother or sister they have yet to meet.
What is the much that is expected of you? Will you make a difference in the lives of 1 in 8 babies in our country? Will you change something for the 15 million families across the globe? NICU Helping Hands is looking for someone just like you to take up this cause and help us “tip the scales in their favor” because it is the “much” that we can do to make a difference…
Will you help us?