Despite the freezing temperatures in NY at the moment, my heart was warmed today by a former student of mine who sent me a message out of the blue, asking me to visit her as she sold baked goods to raise money for my daughter’s NICU!
Her name is Lauren and she graduated Mahopac High School a few years ago. During her senior year- she approached me to help her with a project she was doing to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award. She wanted to raise money for the scrapbooking program in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. She called her project “Brighter Days for Hospital Stays”.
Lauren knew that my daughter was born seventeen weeks early at 23 weeks gestation in 2012, weighing just 1 pound and 4 ounces. My daughter spent 121 days in the NICU. There is no way to explain to someone what is feels like to not know if your baby will survive and then leave them in the hospital each and every night for several months, because you cannot take them home. The scrapbooking program, sponsored by the Child Life and Arts Therapy Department at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, makes life a bit more tolerable by providing this weekly class for parents who have a baby in the NICU. They provide each parent with a scrapbook and every other supply necessary, but photos. Parents get to put together a beautiful scrapbook documenting each milestone their baby meets in the NICU and they get to bring it home, free of charge, when their baby is finally discharged. But the scrapbooking is really a facade, because this weekly gathering is really like a free and necessary therapy session for NICU parents who are struggling to deal with their circumstances and who are looking for someone else who understands. It was of great value to me and I made some lifelong friends during my scrapbooking sessions in the NICU.
Lauren was able to raise enough money to buy them a new cart to hold and transport all of their supplies, along with a smart phone printer and many other papers and stickers for the parents to use.
You can read about Laruen’s project and fundraising by visiting the website she set up for it at: https://brighterdaysforhospitalstays.weebly.com
You can read my article on her accomplishments at: http://www.speakingformomsandbabies.com/blog/brighter-days-for-hospital-stays/
She earned her award several years ago, yet today she returned to her hometown to raise some more money!
Lauren baked all day yesterday and set up this beautiful table in front of Red Mills Market– a very popular store in town- just so she could reach as many people as possible. The owners were surprised that she did not cancel due to the cold, but they don’t know her! They were also gracious enough to offer her unlimited hot drinks!
Let me say that the expected high temperature today was 15° F. Although she was actually freezing out there, Lauren was braving the cold to raise the money because she has to return to college in two weeks.
I am so proud of her and the beautiful young woman she has turned into. She will be excellent in whatever field of medicine she decides to pursue.
Great job Lauren! I know the Child Life and Arts Therapy Department will be so happy to hear what you did.
I am always happy to collect scrapbooking supplies and deliver them to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital because I am there at least once a month for the NICU Parent Mentor Program.
Please contact me if you would like to donate supplies or money to the scrapbooking program.