Hand to Hold

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Celebrating 5 Years of Impact in the NICU Community

Peer Support in the NICUParenting a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and founding a nonprofit have much in common. Both require a strong faith, sheer determination and a community of support. And just as I marvel at the tremendous obstacles my micropreemie (now 14 years old) has overcome, I am humbled by the impact Hand to Hold has had in the lives of tens of thousands of NICU and bereaved families across the country since its founding five years ago.

Thousands of parents receive support through our national Helping Hand peer-to-peer support program and online support forum, Life after NICU. Thousands of families join us monthly for our NICU 101 Facebook chats with healthcare professionals, and thousands more follow our parent blog, PreemieBabies101. Hospitals across the country utilize our NICU Resource Library to foster communication and education opportunities with NICU families, and Hand to Hold’s special resources for NICU siblings help children understand why their baby brother or sister must stay in the hospital.

To celebrate five years of tremendous impact in the NICU community, we have launched a special $250,000 5-Year Birthday Campaign for 2015. Funding will allow us to meet the growing demand for our services and expand our resources to reach even more NICU families. 

The Mrs Band at the KickoffDuring our campaign kickoff event in Austin, Texas on May 1st, we announced that Andra Liemandt and her band, The Mrs., have generously pledged $25,000 for the campaign with the promise of an additional $25,000 if Hand to Hold raises $50,000 by September 30th.

We hope you will feel inspired to help us reach our goal! Your tax-deductible donation can be made online, or you can make your check payable to Hand to Hold and mail to 13492 Research Blvd, Suite 120, PMB 237, Austin, TX 78750.

5 Reasons to Celebrate: Hand to Hold Milestones

  • Development of comprehensive navigation resource tools, including the NICU RESOURCE LIBRARY, endorsed by the National Perinatal Association. Fifty-four libraries have been placed across the country. Hospitals from 37 states and the District of Columbia, 5 Canadian provinces and Ecuador utilize Hand to Hold’s educational materials and/or promote our Helping Hands peer mentor program.
  • Introduction of NICU GRADUATE HANDBOOK, a post-discharge guide for NICU parents to educate them about their baby’s unique developmental and health care needs, giving them the tools and information they need to partner with their therapists and health care providers to ensure best outcomes for all babies.
  • Growth of national, award-winning HELPING HANDS network of trained NICU graduate parent volunteers. Each Helping Hand provides individualized peer-to-peer support to new NICU parents.
  • HANDTOHOLD.ORG recognized as a leading online resource for NICU and bereaved families and medical professionals, with access to free online resources. (Welcomed more than 250,000 unique visitors in 2014).
  • Active SOCIAL MEDIA community with an impressive following of 32,000+ NICU parents and medical professionals.

Thank you for considering a gift in support of our 5-Year Birthday Campaign. Let’s ensure that every NICU parent has a hand to hold!

P.S. Would you like to see how your financial contribution made a difference in 2014? Please review our Annual Report, released earlier this spring.


Kelli Kelley Signature 
Kelli D. Kelley
Founder and Executive Director

More Good Stuff

Who Decides? Life-saving Care for Micropreemies

Kangaroo Care with DadThough medicine has made it possible for 22-week micropreemies to thrive if given life-saving care, hospital policies vary about which micropreemies will be treated. NICU dad Eric Ruthford examines the tough questions surrounding how hospitals decide and believes parents should have a bigger say in the matter.

I  Was Pushed

In the NICUNICU mom Leigh Ann Torres shares her poignant journey to motherhood after her twin girls arrived early and how it permanently changed her perspective. She joins Hand to Hold's blogging team where she'll take on the reins of fostering community that brings former and current NICU parents and those who love them together.

Can You Hear Me Now? Preemies and Ear Tubes

ear tubesAndrea Mullenmeister shares the story of her preemie's hearing loss due to multiple ear infections. Her doctor recommended ear tubes which helped restore her son's hearing and reduce the incidence of ear infections.

Stress, Grief and Mental Health

We are off oxygenHaving a NICU baby can cause stress and even grief long after a baby has been discharged from the hospital. It's important to recognize the effects on your mental health and seek help, says Kristin Buescher. 

Advice from a Former TEF Preemie, Now Preemie Dad

Dad and son in the NICUBorn as a preemie with a tracheal esophageal fistula (TEF), Laura Maikata's husband didn't know what his parents endured for his health until the birth of his son. Now, he shares his perspective and wisdom with fellow NICU parents.


Mom holding a preemieVolunteer to support a family like yours. Become a Helping Hand peer mentor and use your experience to help a fellow NICU parent. Sign up for our online training and our Family Support Navigators will guide you through the process.

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Hand to Hold 5 Year Birthday

To celebrate five years of tremendous impact in the NICU community, Hand to Hold's eNewsletter will feature a milestone that we have been able to accomplish thanks to support from our community locally and nationally. This month's feature is the NICU Graduate Handbook.

NICU Graduate HandbookDischarge from the NICU can be both exciting and tremendously stressful. Away from the NICU, families find themselves alone and responsible for their baby’s care. It can be a difficult adjustment. Offered in both English and Spanish, Hand to Hold’s NICU Graduate Handbook provides families with the essential information they need to become confident caregivers for their medically fragile babies throughout early childhood.

NICU Heroes Awards Underway

NICU Heroes LogoThank you for nominating your favorite NICU professional for a NICU Heroes Award!  We have enjoyed reading all the many inspiring and heartwarming stories you all have shared. We will be announcing finalists July 13 and winners August 3. 

Listen to Your Mother

We are grateful to all the performers and attendees who came out to the Listen to Your Mother show in Austin. The group chose Hand to Hold as their charity beneficiary for their live performance celebrating motherhood. 

Listen to Your Mother

Super Heroes Unite to Celebrate 5 Years

Super heroes uniteIf you’re in the Austin area, join us for our 5-Year Birthday Party on Friday, Aug. 14 at the Dell Diamond (Round Rock, TX)! Help us celebrate the success of Hand to Hold with NICU families we have served over the years, as well as Austin-area sponsors and volunteers. Tickets will go on sale in July. Corporate and family sponsorships are available. Visit  HandtoHold.org/5years for more details.

Thank You to Kendra Scott & Crú Wine Bar

Beverly and boysWe are grateful to those of you who stopped by our sweet benefit on May 14th at the Domain in Austin. A special thank you to Kendra Scott Domain - Austin and Crú Wine Bar (Austin) for hosting such a lovely event.

Thanks for Your Support


For Healthcare Providers

MilesHand to Hold offers resources exclusively for NICU health professionals. These include a selection of brochures, posters and postcards. Hand to Hold also offers its NICU Resource Library, a collection of educational materials available by subscription for NICU families in English and Spanish. Endorsed by the National Perinatal Association, these materials complement Family-Centered Care practices. Watch for our new online store, which is coming soon!

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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