Donation drive to help parents with babies in NICU - WNEM TV 5

Donation drive to help parents with babies in NICU

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There's a push for donations of things like pajamas, socks, gas cards - little things that when added up can eat into family time at the hospital.

"You're creating memories and doing plans on something that is unexpected," said Stephanie Meyer, NICU coordinator at Covenant Healthcare.

While most people will be home for the holidays, a handful of parents will be in Covenant's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"The birth of a child is so wonderful and such a blessing and most parents don't expect to end up in a neonatal intensive care unit. A lot of families don't even know what a NICU is until they have to spend a day or two or even a holiday up in the NICU," Meyer said.

It's an experience Haley Hages knows all too well. Her daughter was born with a rare birth defect called gastroschisis and because of it, Hages was inspired to join a foundation geared toward supporting families in her position.

"When she was diagnosed we were told that she could spend anywhere from one month up to six months to years," Hages said.

Now she is trying to relieve some of that stress for other families spending time in the NICU. She put together a Christmas for the NICU donation drive on behalf of Avery's Angels Gastroschisis Foundation.

"I'm asking for snap front pajamas because due to the leads and everything and oxygen lines that some of these babies require, they have to be snap front so those wires can come through the pajamas. Hats, hair bows, socks, books for parents to read, travel size hand lotions and hand sanitizers for the parents. Gas cards and food cards because driving here to the hospital every day to see your child can become very financially burdonsome," Hages said.

Donations can be made until Dec. 21.

Hages' daughter Kylee will be able to celebrate Christmas at home this year, but not everyone is so fortunate.

"Being in the NICU is so extremely hard. Then to have a major holiday where you are pulled between spending time at home with your family and other kids, if you have other kids, or coming to the hospital to spend time with your sick baby," Hages said.

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