Hand to Hold

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Turning Loss into Advocacy
by Lana Macrum-Craig, Board President 

Lana CraigMy daughter, Allie Reese, would be celebrating her 9th birthday this month. Each year, as Mother’s Day approaches and soon thereafter, the date of her birth, my heart and mind become a little unsettled. Conflicting emotions of sorrow and pain intertwine with love and gratitude for the gift of being her mom.

Like most expecting mothers, I had dreamed of joyous milestones with Allie and all that motherhood encompasses. But Allie’s early arrival at 26 weeks gestation and subsequent diagnosis of a very rare and terminal genetic disorder quickly dissolved my joy into anguish, as I knew I would only know the physical presence of my daughter for a short time.

Allie lived 18 precious days. During that time my family struggled to navigate our emotions and the complicated and overwhelming reality of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

I spent years trying to make sense of, and more importantly, sooth my heart around the loss of my child as well as my marriage, which was not able to withstand the weight of such a traumatic loss. Grieving, surviving and healing became my daily routine, and I credit my faith for carrying me through that difficult time.

Craig family newsletter.jpgThankfully, years later I am now blessed with a loving and supportive husband and two wonderful step-children. Shortly after our marriage I expressed my deep desire to help other families who face the challenges of premature birth, genetic disorders and loss. I prayed for the opportunity to use my greatest pain to help others, and within a short time, I was introduced to Hand to Hold.

Through my service on the Board of Directors and now as presiding President, I have been given a platform and a medium to repurpose my pain into meaningful efforts to truly transform lives of NICU and bereaved families.

Hand to Hold not only provides meaningful and effective programs, but champions true social change in the delivery of Family-Friendly Support. This advocacy helps mitigate many social challenges experienced by NICU and bereaved families including divorce, child abuse and mental health diagnoses, such as depression and PTSD.

Hand to Hold’s comprehensive support model ensures hospitals meet new standards for Psychosocial Support for NICU families. These new guidelines, proposed by the National Perinatal Association in 2015, include peer-to-peer support, support groups, bereavement support, access and referral to mental health professionals and ongoing education to prepare parents to care for their medically fragile child.

Hand to Hold’s programs are transforming lives, which ultimately benefits our communities and economy. This is hard work, and we need your help. My goal as President is to build a diverse and distributed army of people that will help us achieve our mission and build a sustainable model, growth capital and partnerships that will carry us into the next decade.

We are at a critical stage of non-profit development as we grow our local, state and national presence. Please join us on this journey and become a member of our Sustaining Circle of Love. Your support is critical. Studies indicate that the mental, physical and social health of the family is highly correlated to the long-term physical and developmental outcome of the baby. Your support ensures best outcomes for babies and their families.

While I thought I would not be able to bear the loss of my baby, each year graciously lessens my sorrow. I am now able to focus on the legacy of love and hope for better outcomes for other families she has left behind.

Sustaining Circle of LoveHand to Hold's Sustaining Circle of Love was established to recognize dedicated annual donors who are passionate about advancing the mission of Hand to Hold. Find out more about the Sustaining Circle of Love here or contact Jennifer Hayhurst.


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Connect With Us

Like us on Facebook!Follow us on Twitter!Watch us on YouTubePin us on PinterestNICU Family Voices 28nicu family forum 28

Our Facebook Pages Have a New Look!

NICU Family Voices logoWe recently relaunched our Facebook pages with a fresh new look and new names! Preemie BabiesNICU Family Forum logo 101 is now Hand to Hold - NICU
Family Voices
, where we offer insights and helpful information to NICU families, directly from parents who have been there themselves. Our Life After NICU community is now Hand to Hold - NICU Family Forum, an interactive peer-support forum that allows NICU families to seek out advice and share inspiration directly with one another.

Secure Your 2016 Baby Shower Ticket, Table, or Sponsorship! 

baby shower logoFollow us down the yellow brick road to an afternoon of celebration and reflection on the lives of fragile babies and their resilient families at our 3rd annual Baby Shower Luncheon in Austin, TX. Inspiring guests with a message about courage, faith and friendship, New York Times Bestselling Author of Sparkly Green Earrings and TheBigMamaBlog.com blogger, Melanie Shankle will talk about what it takes to navigate life’s most difficult challenges. Secure your ticket/table/sponsorship today!   

Get Your Ticket for Our Superhero Birthday Celebration!

birthday kidIf you’re in the Austin area, join us in celebrating another year of family friendly support with a Round Rock Express baseball game, fun children’s games, and a casual dinner with yummy ice cream and cookies (and beer for ages 21+). Click here for more details and to purchase your ticket(s). Thank you to our early bird sponsor, Viva Pediatrics! 

Connect With Us on Instagram!

instagram logoHand to Hold is on Instagram! Join us on one of the most fun social media platforms for inspiring imagery and current events! Connect with us!

Volunteer Opportunities

Kelli visits VictoriaVolunteer your time to write supportive notes to be given to families in the NICU now and to say thanks to NICU staff during special recognition months. Or virtually correspond with a family who has had an experience similar to yours by becoming a Helping Hand peer mentor. Whether you have a little or a lot of time, we have a spot for you to make a difference today. Get started.

Connect to Support on Your Schedule

Julie Cruz and hubbieA baby's NICU stay or loss can be a lonely and isolating experience. Let our experienced Family Support Navigators help you connect to information, resources and support to help make the journey easier for you. Send us a request to begin

Past Issues

Read past eNewsletters.

   About Hand to Hold
Hand to Hold logoHand to Hold is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications. 

Hand to Hold - www.handtohold.org - 855-H2H-NICU

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