The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be a scary place for little ones and their families. In addition to providing around the clock medical care, hospital staff in NICUs also focus on giving their patients’ families as many “normal” moments as they can. One way this is achieved is by dressing babies in regular clothing instead of hospital gowns whenever possible. When our strategic marketing manager, Julie Merar, learned that Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago needed clothing for their patients, she stepped in to help.
Julie first learned about the need for clothes when she spotted a post on social media. Corina Davidson, a NICU registered nurse at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, posted in a Facebook group for Chicago area moms asking if anyone had size 2T dresses they could donate to the hospital. Julie messaged Nurse Davidson to learn more. In her reply, Nurse Davidson explained why something as simple as clothing makes such a difference: “I know it seems silly, but to these parents, that’s the only normal they can see with their kids in the hospital. We can still get them in clothes. They’re still babies.”
Julie took time to find out which types and sizes of clothing the hospital needed most. Nurse Davidson explained that the NICU had some clothing for younger, smaller babies but did not have any for their older patients. There was a particular need for sizes 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2T. Accessibility was important in selecting clothing. Any donated clothes had to have snap closures (no zippers) to accommodate tubing, trachs, and other medical/monitoring devices.
Kindness from Home
COVID-19 has changed the way we approach acts of kindness. Instead of spending the day shopping for clothes that she would drop off at the NICU in person, Julie carried out her act of kindness from home. First, she had Nurse Davidson create an online wishlist for clothing items. Julie then used Random Acts funding to buy everything on the wishlist. Boxes of long-sleeved and short-sleeved onesies, full-on sleepers for sleep and play, rompers, and dresses shipped directly to Nurse Davidson, who could then bring the clothes to work. This ensured that everyone stayed safe while Julie worked her kindness magic.
A Warm Welcome
Both the NICU staff and the patients’ families were thrilled when Nurse Davidson brought in the donated clothes. Nurse Davidson sent along the wonderful photos we have used in this post. She also messaged Julie a heartfelt thank you: “Thank you thank you thank you!!! All of our families and nurses are screaming thank you!!!”