Recognizing the Moms and Dads of Premature Babies with the First Ever 'Parents of Preemies Day'
A new day of action and awareness will recognize the courage and commitment of parents raising premature babies and children.
February 29, 2012 (Newswire.com) - On March 23, 2012, the national preemie parent support organization Graham's Foundation (http://grahamsfoundation.org) will debut the first annual Parents of Preemies Day (http://parentsofpreemiesday.org/main.html), an event designed to recognize the courage and commitment it takes to stay strong and resilient when premature birth turns a family's world upside down. Each year an estimated 13,000,000 babies are born prematurely worldwide. Medical breakthroughs continue to improve the outcomes for babies born prematurely, but experts are only now beginning to understand the intense psychological effects that premature birth has on the parents of preemies.
Graham's Foundation President and Co-founder Nick Hall and his wife, Jennifer, know the effects first hand, having experienced the birth of their twins at just 25 weeks gestation before facing the trials of the neo-natal intensive care unit and the loss of their son, Graham.
"While in the NICU, my wife and I had so much support from our friends and family, employers, doctors and nurses," Nick said. "and yet we felt like we were barely surviving. People need to know that having a premature baby is a singularly heartbreaking and overwhelming experience. Parents of Preemies Day is a way we can help people understand the long-lasting impact prematurity can have on parents and families."
Graham's Foundation is asking parents and families of preemies to get involved by visiting the Parents of Preemies Day Facebook Page. Parents can post pictures of themselves and their preemies, and share their unique stories of Hope, Resilience, & Miracles. Submissions will become part of the banner that will be unveiled on Parents of Preemies Day, and everyone who participates will be automatically entered to win diapers for a year from Pampers, plus prizes from American Greetings, Dr. Brown's, CanvasPop, Nap Nannies, Snikiddy, Food Should Taste Good, Clif Bar, It's a Preemie Thing, and other sponsors.
As part of Parents of Preemies Day, Graham's Foundation and a hand-selected group of prematurity specialists will be debuting a free community event that shares what it means to be parents of a premature baby and will help moms and dads of preemies connect with and learn more about therapeutic service providers and medical specialists who might be otherwise difficult to find or to access. Nationwide, Parents of Preemies Day is a way for moms and dads to connect with one another - virtually and in person.
Professional golfer and 72-time LPGA tournament winner Annika Sorenstam knows how incredibly difficult being the parent of a preemie is, and sympathizes with those moms and dads currently coping with the NICU experience and transition home.
"Having a preemie is very trying emotionally and isolating for the entire family, therefore the opportunity to connect with other families going through the same experience can mean so much," she said. "I gave birth to our son Will at 27 weeks and he spent 57 days in the NICU. I will always remember seeing all the different tubes and monitors on him and feeling like time stood still. We will be forever grateful to Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando and the parents who reached out to support and encourage us."
Graham's Foundation will be kicking off Parents of Preemies Day with announcements about new resources for parents and partnerships, along with an ambitious pledge to deliver thousands of care packages to parents of premature babies in Level III NICUs across the U.S. and Canada throughout the year.
Sponsors for this year's Parents of Preemie's Day include:
• Pampers, which has committed, in partnership with Graham's Foundation, to sending care packages to Level III NICUs nationwide for distribution on March 23rd (with monthly fulfillment to follow). Additionally, Pampers has donated a year's worth of diapers as a sweepstakes prize.
• Parenting Magazine, which has signed on to publish a mini parenting magazine featuring stories of prematurity that will be included in Graham's Foundation care packages.
• American Greetings, Dr. Brown's, CanvasPop, It's a Preemie Thing, Nap Nanny, Snikiddy, Food Should Taste Good, and Clif Bar, which have all contributed sweepstakes prizes.
• Supporting organizations including Hand to Hold, the Parent Resource Network, Preemieworld, the Zoe Rose Memorial Foundation, Preemies Today, Life After NICU, Milkin' Mamas, Preemie Prints, and the Family Support Network of Eastern North Carolina.
"All of us at Graham's Foundation believe that a dedicated day to recognize the parents of preemies is important, but also that parents coping with prematurity deserve year round support and recognition," said Nick. "Parents of Preemies Day is our way of introducing the world to the broader, lasting impact of premature birth on moms and dads. No one who hasn't gone through it can truly grasp the feelings of isolation felt by parents of preemies, but our hope is that by shining a light on the preemie parent community through Parents of Preemies Day, we can ease some of that loneliness."
Categories: Family Medicine