Giving Back to Those Who Helped Me
I never thought I would be part of the NICU community, but I am here. I am stronger. And I am thankful for the relationships I have created from this journey.
I started my journey when my son was born at 34 weeks due to severe preeclampsia, but that was just the beginning. A scary delivery left my husband and me with a baby in a part of the hospital that we had only heard of on TV or in the movies. Our hospital had a Hand to Hold family support specialist who gave us our first gift as parents, the Milestone Bead Necklace, and invited us to a support group where we met new families who would become our forever friends.
After getting into the groove of our new normal, I knew I wanted to give back to Hand to Hold, to help support other families like they had helped mine, but I wasn’t sure how. I started with signing up as a volunteer to be alerted if there were any opportunities local to me. When I was ready, I signed up to be a peer mentor.
Then came Benson’s first birthday. As a newborn and new mom, I knew we didn’t need more “stuff,” and I still had the urge to give back. So we made his first birthday something to remember as a family. We donated his preemie clothes back to our NICU, we got hugs and pictures from our OBGYN team, and we set up an opportunity for our friends and family to give to Hand to Hold in lieu of gifts.
In March I joined the Hand to Hold team as their first-ever marketing director, a position that allows me to use my passion for marketing to ensure that NICU families like mine get the support they need. And as Benson's second birthday gets closer, we are again asking our friends and family to donate to Hand to Hold with a goal of $628 (his birthday). It’s exciting to get the donation notifications as keepsakes for his scrapbook and to know that he will be helping other families and babies like him.
As our families grow and their lives move further away from the NICU, we find ourselves looking for ways to give back. We want to serve other NICU families like ours, through volunteering our time as peer mentors or community volunteers, through fundraising or by sharing the work Hand to Hold does with our networks. However you choose to give back, we’re honored to have you on this journey with us.