Hand to Hold

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A New Year, New Possibilities

For the Love of Babies campaignI love a new year!  It means a new calendar with empty boxes and no tattered pages.  My husband will argue that I love January because I enjoy celebrating my birthday – and that may be true.  But the real reason has more to do with the opportunity to set new goals and ponder the possibilities.

This year promises to be an exciting year for Hand to Hold, and I can’t wait to get started! Three initiatives you will be hearing more about include the following:

  1. Hand to Hold will soon unveil our new online NICU Resource Library, to provide NICUs smart, educational content to help the families in their care.  Designed to complement and extend the support and education hospitals provide families during a NICU stay, Hand to Hold’s NICU Resource Library will house an extensive list of educational materials in English and Spanish covering topics of importance to NICU families, from antepartum to bonding with your medically fragile child to discharge planning and bereavement.
  2. We have also launched our For the Love of Babies campaign which invites NICU families to tell their story to help us extend our online family education program and NICU Resource Library.
  3. And lastly, we will be launching our first Facebook Chat in February with an invited expert in response to feedback families have given us online. Families have told us they need support online and on their terms, and that’s what our mission is all about! (Connect with Hand to Hold on Facebook if you haven’t already.)

Parents are a baby’s primary caregivers. If they are given the support, resources and information they need, they will be able to capitalize on the quality care their child has received in the NICU and ensure the best possible outcome for their baby and their family.

Support cannot come soon enough, according to two studies published in the British Medical Journal and presented at a briefing in London in December. The number of children and adults with disabilities caused by premature birth will rise in coming years, likely increasing demand for health, educational and social services. The researchers suggest that as the number of extremely preterm babies who survive and are able to go home from the hospital continues to rise, individuals, families and communities will face new challenges and will need support networks. These recommendations hold true for children born late-preterm as well as evidenced by the National Perinatal Association’s recent publication of Multidisciplinary Guidelines for Care of Late Preterm Infants.

Hand to Hold is well poised to provide the support, information and ongoing education NICU families need as they care for their medically fragile child. Thank you for believing in and supporting the mission of Hand to Hold. Together we are truly making a difference in the lives of NICU families across the country.

With Appreciation,

Kelli Kelley Signature 
Kelli D. Kelley
Founder and Executive Director

More Good Stuff

Finding a Balance Between NICU and Home

Ames family in the NICUFamily Support Navigator and Preemie Parent Erika Goyer describes tips to finding balance between NICU and home - including how to care for yourself, mobilize friends and family to support you, simplify finances, and celebrate the birth of your child.

{Professional Insight} Instant Tools to Help You De-Stress During Your NICU Stay

Dawn GibsonSocial worker and psychotherapist Dawn Gibson of Mindful Mothering counsels NICU parents on mind-body techniques they can use in the NICU and in any stressful situation to help find a sense of calm.

The Need for a Common Bond

AddieKelli Kelley shares Melissa D's story about the unexpected birth of her daughter 14 weeks too early at 26 weeks, and how the experience may have been easier had she been connected to a peer mentor who had a similar experience and could support her emotionally. 

{Featured Resource} Busy Breathers LLC

Busy Breathers LLCInspired by her son who was born preterm and required oxygen following his NICU stay, Michelle Staley used her fashion design expertise to invent a unique oxygen carrying backpack that makes it easier for moms carrying oxygen-dependent infants, children and adults on the go.

NICU Dads Do Cry

Jaxon CIn a society that expects men to be rocks with no outward signs of emotion, NICU dad Chris Cavazos explains how expressing and sharing his emotion allowed him to release a heavy burden and focus his energies on getting his son well.

Join Hand to Hold's Team Preemie Posse

Dave Alter and daughter Jada at the 2012 Austin Marathon

If you enjoy running, getting fit and connecting with a cause close to your heart, we invite you to join Hand to Hold's Team Preemie Posse by running in the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon, Half Marathon on February 17, 2013. We are also recruiting volunteers to staff our waterstop along the race course.  

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Feb 14 - Hand to Hold Launches new NICU Resource Library for NICUs

Feb 17 - Team Preemie Posse Running/Volunteering at the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon, Half Marathon

See more upcoming events and where we've been making connections.

Volunteer Opportunities

Helping Hand Peer Mentor - Volunteer to support a fellow NICU family no matter where you live.

Volunteer to provide NICU respite at the Ronald McDonald Room at St. David's North Austin Medical Center or at St. David's Medical Center (M/T, 9-1pm). 

Preemie Posse runners and waterstop #22 volunteers are needed for the Livestrong Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, February 17, 2013.

For the Love of Babies Kickoff Party

We are extraordinarily grateful to Meredith Bagan and Melinda Garvey who hosted a Snoball Party to kickoff Hand to Hold's For the Love of Babies campaign locally. Attendees were asked to start a Snoball by pledging money based on any action and sharing with friends and family.

Meredith Bagan, Kelli Kelley, Melinda Garvey 

Thanks to Our Superior Strength Preemie Power Sponsors!


St. David's Healthcare

Preemie Posse 2013

Preemie Power Super Heroes

AvaMeet Amazing Ava, a 2012 contest finalist, who was born at 24 weeks. Behind this smile, you might never guess this sweetie spent 454 days in the NICU and PICU her first years. This photo is the day her trach came out and Ava breathed without assistance. Be inspired by more Preemie Power Super Heroes and join our Preemie Power facebook community.

Past Issues

Read more Hand to Hold Supporter Updates.

   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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