Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The NICU Christmas Project

Forty-six beds in the NICU. Forty-six holiday baskets. Two very excited former NICU parents.

A few months ago, we received a letter soliciting donations from the Children's Hospital that houses the NICU that touched our lives so profoundly. I've been plunking down a dollar at the gas station every now and again in the hopes of dedicating a wing in honor of Bryce and Chloe, but alas, those little ping pong balls that turn ordinary Joes into Powerball millionaires have been uncooperative. Thus, I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with an alternative that's within our means. Sure, we could send a modest donation to the hospital that would cover the cost of fifteen milliseconds of care for some unfortunate baby, but Christie and I were eager to do something more personal for NICU families.

About a month ago, I gave a talk on prematurity awareness to the Land O'Lakes Buttermasters, a local Toastmasters organization that I'm a member of. Part of the speech covered the many ways those sympathetic to the cause could help in the fight against prematurity, and out of this talk the idea for the NICU holiday baskets was born.

Thanks in large part to some very generous donations from the Buttermasters, we were able to put together forty-six holiday baskets for families with a plethora of goodies, including a copy of our all-time favorite children's book ("I Love You Through and Through", which we still read to all 3 kids regularly), a tiny stocking for the isolette, a create-your-own Baby's First Christmas ornament, a St. NICU bookmark and more.

Best of all, our social worker from the NICU and the medical staff graciously accompanied Christie and I as we spent half an hour hand-delivering those baskets to the bedside of each family who'll be spending their Christmas in the ICU, rather than gathered 'round a cozy fire in front of the Christmas tree.

I'm eager to see the smiles on my kids' faces when they tear into their Christmas presents on Saturday morning, but I don't know that I've ever been as excited about giving a gift as I was this afternoon. It's difficult to describe the profound joy and satisfaction I felt in being able to provide some small token of our empathy for those families who'll have much more than mall traffic and sold-out toys to contend with this holiday season. The brilliant smile on my wife's face said that she felt the same. Provided the NICU is willing, the Christmas Project is sure to be a holiday tradition for Bryce and company.

Thanks again to everyone who made this afternoon a reality and Merry Christmas!

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  1. Wow that's great! We love that book too. Jason and I have friends that just had triplets on Sunday at 28 weeks that are in the NICU right now! Glad to see Bryce is doing so well. Hope you guys have a great Christmas! -Shannon Wilkie

  2. God will never be outdone in generosity. You and your family will be showered with God's blessings in 2011 for gifting those who know not what the future may bring. Your story and Brett Favre's story in the morning paper today are all we need for a joy-filled Christmas.
    God love you!
    We surely do.
    Grandma & Grandpa Sonnek

  3. Merry Christmas to you too! Your generosity to the NICU families is wonderful!

  4. This brings tears to my eyes, you've managed to find the true meaning of Christmas. God bless you, Christie, Logan, Bryce and Chloe.