Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Celebrating Milestones

Jackson in his isolette with boxing gloves

My 24-weeker who we dubbed “Action Jackson”

Life is full of milestones – markers that denote our accomplishments and continued progress on our life journey. A baby’s first smile, first word and first steps are typical milestones to be celebrated. NICU parents cherish milestones as they denote our child’s continued growth and development. Sometimes we must adjust or change our expectations, but it is so important for our babies that we never underestimate their power to overcome tremendous obstacles. Hand to Hold’s Preemie Power Photo and Essay Contest was created to allow parents to recognize and celebrate these milestones – BIG and small.

The third annual Preemie Power Photo and Essay contest is a major milestone in the life of Hand to Hold. Each year the contest gains popularity, garners more votes and gives away more prizes. This year we introduced more age categories and, thanks to our friends at Neotech, the Preemie Power grand prize winner will receive a trip of a lifetime family vacation to Disneyland.

Through our collaboration with Mead Johnson Nutrition, information about Preemie Power will reach 660 Level III NICUs which we hope will not only increase participation, but also provide hope and support to new parents.

Jackson in boxing gloves

Here’s “Action Jackson,” age 6

Please visit the Preemie Power Website, www.preemiepower.org, often this month to read the amazing stories, vote for your favorite entry and support the mission of Hand to Hold by donating in honor of these amazing super heroes.

Much like our Preemie Power contestants, Hand to Hold has achieved some major milestones in a very short period of time. We have much to look forward to in 2013 as we build relationships with hospitals and parents across the country, launch the Hand to Hold Community Partner Network, expand our online resource library and continue the development and introduction of resources for Spanish-speaking families.

If you are interested in helping Hand to Hold and the families we serve reach even greater milestones in 2013, please consider joining our leadership team, serving on a planning committee, championing Hand to Hold at your hospital, volunteering as a Helping Hand Mentor and/or making a monetary donation. Together we truly can make a difference in the lives of NICU babies and their families!  You can reach me at kelli@handtohold.org or 1-855-424-6428.

Kelli Kelley About Kelli Kelley

Founder, Hand to Hold - Kelli D. Kelley (TX) is the mother of two preemies – Jackson born at 24 weeks in 2000 and Lauren born at 34 weeks in 2003. She is the founder of Hand to Hold, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated providing support and navigation resources to families who had a preemie, who had a child in the NICU or with a special healthcare need, or who experienced loss. She has experienced the emotional fallout and isolation that having preemies often causes. As a direct result, Kelli has dedicated her life to offering hope and sanctuary to all parents who have had similar journeys. Contact her via email.

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