FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
Lisa is founder and President of NICU Helping Hands, a non-profit organization based in Fort Worth, Texas, that develops hospital- and community-based projects to provide education and support for families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), during their transition from hospital to home and in the event of an infant loss.
As the mother of four boys ranging in age from fourteen to twenty-one, Lisa is well aware of the challenges that come with parenthood under the best of circumstances. Married to a neonatologist, Lisa also understands the struggles facing parents of premature and full term infants hospitalized in the NICU. When a dear friend gave birth to 24-week twins in 2007, Lisa committed herself to helping parents of premature and critically ill full term infants and NICU Helping Hands was born.
Founded in 2010, NICU Helping Hands implemented its first in-hospital program, Project NICU in June 2011 at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth. The launch of Project NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth happened in January 2015. Since inception, NICU Helping Hands has conducted more than 15,000 bedside visits with families and facilitated more than 600 parent support, education and sibling sessions.
Driven by the belief that no family should have to face the birth of a critically ill infant alone, Lisa continues to develop programs both locally and across the United States to support families of infants hospitalized in the NICU. Whether it’s financial assistance for families struggling to pay for basic necessities of life due to medical bills or providing educational resource materials, Lisa is committed to meeting the needs of families who ask for help.
The organization has received accolades for its impact and thoughtfully-designed programs. Most recently, NICU Helping Hands initiated their Angel Gown® Program, providing infant burial gowns hand-sewn from donated wedding dresses to bereaved parents. The Angel Gown® Program is a registered and trademarked program in the US. In response to requests, Lisa also consults nationally with hospitals and non-profit organizations interested in developing programs for families of premature infants within their own communities.
Prior to founding NICU Helping Hands, Lisa volunteered with various local and national non-profit agencies that focus on family and children services, including The Warm Place, The Kupferle Health Board, and The March of Dimes. In 2009 she received an award from March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer Howse for her national fundraising contributions to the organization.
Lisa earned a bachelor’s degree from Belmont University and holds a Master’s degree from Austin Peay State University in Vocal Performance.
DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER
Cristal Grogan is the Digital Marketing Manager for NICU Helping Hands in Fort Worth, Texas. Since January 2016, she has kept the digital pulse of NICU Helping Hands at her fingertips. With a stroke of the keyboard, Cristal is committed to supporting families by ensuring they have up to date and relevant information available online through the numerous online media outlets in which NICU Helping Hands provides. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing, and graphic design, Cristal creates digital campaigns that engage, inform and motivate. She is also a consultant for the Preemie Parent Alliance and has publicly spoken about her personal experience in the NICU.
Cristal was living overseas in southern Spain when her son, Seth, was born. After navigating NICU life in a foreign country with a language barrier, no support system or proper resources, Cristal pledged to become involved in the NICU community and ensure that no other parent was left in the same desperate situation. Cristal is the mother of Seth, age 7, born prematurely at 29 weeks gestation is now in 1st grade.
Emily Bogarin is a Program Facilitator for NICU Helping Hands in Fort Worth, Texas. Since December of 2016, she has worked with families in antepartum and the NICU at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital.
Emily began her medical career in December 2011 working directly with patients and their families at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center/Miller Children's Hospital in California. She has received multiple letters of recognition and is an Applause Award recipient. In 2014 she relocated to Fort Worth and for 2 ½ years supported mothers in antepartum at Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center as a Patient Care Tech. Today she continues to be recognized by hospital staff in her role as a Program Facilitator for NICU Helping Hands with multiple Applause recognitions and as NICU Employee of the Month.
Emily has a unique perspective and understanding of the needs of both antepartum and NICU families. Not only has she worked in an antepartum unit, she was an expectant mother on bedrest for 11 weeks during her own high-risk pregnancy. Following an emergency c-section, her son Marshall was admitted to the NICU. The knowledge gained from both her personal experience and professional background has equipped her to support parents both emotionally and educationally during their hospital stay.
Emily has been married to her husband Jeff for 8 ½ years and is the mother of NICU graduate Marshall, age 5 and stepmother to Emma, age 16. Marshall can be found playing on the soccer field and will be starting school in the fall.
Natalie Gordon is a full time Program Facilitator for NICU Helping Hands in Fort Worth, Texas. In August 2013, she began working directly with families during their stay in both the antepartum unit as the NICU at Baylor All Saints Medical Center.
Today, she serves as a NICU Helping Hands Program Facilitator at Cook Children's Medical Center in the NICU, visiting families bedside, offering encouragement and hope on a daily basis, and assures them that they are not alone. Natalie also coordinates and implements NICU Helping Hands' weekly dinner sessions that focus on emotional and educational support that will assist families during their NICU stay. Additionally, Natalie provides services in the NEST Clinic at Cook Children's Medical Center where she provides ongoing support to families who have been discharged from the NICU and trying to navigate life after their NICU stay.
Since the start of her career with NICU Helping Hands, Natalie has worked alongside NICU staff and administrators to improve the services to families in their care. In addition to the services she provides to local families in the DFW metroplex, Natalie has spoken at various local and national conferences about the parent experience in the NICU. She is part of the National Speaker’s Bureau for the Preemie Parent Alliance.
Natalie has been married to her husband for 17 years and is the mother of Alexis, age 16, and Lola and Landry who were born in 2009 at just 24 weeks gestation. They are now 9 years old!
Ashley Mann is a Program Facilitator for NICU Helping Hands in Fort Worth, Texas. Since October 2015, she has directly assisted families during their stay in both antepartum and the NICU at Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center.
Intimately familiar with the demands of life in the NICU, Ashley is committed to supporting families in a way that she herself received little of when her son was abruptly taken to the NICU at 38 weeks gestation in 2008 and her daughter at 29 weeks gestation in 2012. Ashley actively advocates for and facilitates open communication between healthcare professionals and the families in their care. She focuses daily on providing encouragement, inspiration, and hope to every family she meets. Additionally, Ashley serves on the membership committee for the Preemie Parent Alliance, a professional association for NICU Parent Leaders in the United States and coordinates volunteers for NICU Helping Hands events.
Ashley has been married to her husband for 13 years and is the mother of Brett, age 10, Alivia, age 6, and Jett, age 5. Alivia, born prematurely at 29 weeks gestation is now thriving in school.