UH News

Second Annual Parents of Preemies Day Honors Parents of Premature Children

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The world-wide event recognizing the courage and commitment of parents raising premature babies and children.

CLEVELAND, OH (Feb. 25, 2013) – Preparations are underway for Cleveland’s first ever Parents of Preemies Day which will be taking place at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital on Sunday, March 10, 2013.This nationwide event will be hosted in cities across the country and is produced by Graham's Foundation, the national preemie parent support organization (www.grahamsfoundation.org). The day is designed to recognize the courage and commitment it takes to stay strong and resilient when premature birth turns a family's world upside down.

As part of the Parents of Preemies Day initiative (http://grahamsfoundation.org/resources/parents-preemies-day/) , Graham's Foundation is partnering with University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital to host a free local community outreach, support, and awareness event for parents of preemies and their children, the general public, and the media throughout Northeastern Ohio. In additional to this local event, unique events will be hosted by volunteers in cities across the country in places such as Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Toledo. Each event will feature a brunch, children's activities, and exhibits that bring together a hand-selected group of prematurity specialists, as well as life coaching experts, counseling and therapeutic service providers, and other professionals who will be available to discuss how prematurity impacts families and how specific services and therapies can improve outcomes for premature infants and children.

Our local Cleveland event will take place on Sunday, March 10, in Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital’s Horvitz Tower on the lower level in the Performance Area from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

In addition to events, Parents of Preemies Day will also encourage the sharing of photos and stories online (www.facebook.com/parentsofpreemiesday) and an initiative to share unique preemie stories by encouraging and sharing a blogging for Parents of Preemies Day. 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 various prizes from the sponsors of the day.

Each year an estimated 13 million 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.

“Parents of Preemies Day is our way of introducing the world to the broader, lasting impact of premature birth on moms and dads," said Nick Hall, founder and president of Graham's Foundation. "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.”

Nick Hall and his wife, Jennifer, know the effects of prematurity 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."

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