Every year, millions of babies around the world are born prematurely or with life-threatening health conditions, and many of these newborns receive specialist care from a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In the USA, “roughly 100,000 babies end up in a NICU each year,” according to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
Random Acts Development Manager Jennifer Willis-Rivera knew this only too well after a friend’s baby was born preterm. Jennifer explained how baby CJ arrived “way too early — 24 weeks gestation, weighing just barely more than a soda can.” Thankfully he pulled through and is now “thriving after months and months in the NICU.”
CJ’s parents Nicole and Darrel Wanzer-Serrano were so grateful to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, they wanted to spread a little kindness in return, so they decided to mark CJ’s first birthday by funding supplies for the NICU. When Jennifer heard this, she stepped in to help buy some key items on their wishlist: high-quality cameras.
Jennifer explained that for Nicole, Darrel and CJ, “their first family photo was with a NICU camera.” The cameras are used to document milestones and memories, and to let parents see their newborns when they’re too sick for visitors. For those babies who very sadly don’t survive, these are often the only photos bereaved families have of their child.
Using Random Acts funding — made possible thanks to generous donations from supporters — Jennifer was able to replace the hospital’s old cameras with high-resolution devices suited to the low lighting of the NICU. These included two point-and-shoot cameras and one top-of-the-range mirrorless camera, as well as SD memory cards for all three.
On May 15th, CJ and his parents celebrated his birthday by heading to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and presenting the NICU with the cameras and a whole host of other gifts. Check out the happy family’s snaps of CJ’s special day: