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

Saying Thanks When Words Are Hardly Enough

NICU Heroes Award 2015They say that the NICU is a special place. And it is. Babies show how strong they are despite their size and medical challenges. Families show how resilient they can be in the face of the ups and downs that come with a hospital stay of any length.

And there are those other special people. You know who I am talking about — the health care professionals of every stripe who willingly choose working in the NICU and helping tiny babies and their families day after day. These professionals, whether helping moms like me learn to hold my baby in kangaroo care or helping a family make the most of a baby’s short life, go beyond taking care of an infant’s medical needs because in truth, they are charged with caring for a baby’s mom and dad and entire family, too. For this reason, some of these people’s names will be imprinted on our hearts for many years to come; they were that special person who made our family and baby’s NICU stay easier to bear because of things they said in a time of deep pain and actions they took that went beyond what was expected.

To shed light on the many small and large acts of compassion, courage and perseverance, Hand to Hold and Mead Johnson Nutrition are pleased to announce that they are currently accepting nominations for the third annual NICU Heroes Award. We are looking for outstanding Neonatal ICU nurses, physicians, therapists, social workers and lactation consultants who you feel deserve national recognition for their efforts and care of your precious baby and family.

The NICU Heroes Award is both a way to give thanks and tell everyone about these special health care professionals and the meaningful impact they make each day. Two winners will receive a one-year subscription to the Hand to Hold NICU Resource Library, designed to provide education to parents during a NICU stay, for the winner’s hospital, a $2,500 honorary donation to the pediatric charity of their choice, and a trophy and certificate recognizing their achievements. In addition, each nominee will receive a copy of your family’s nomination and story so they will be informed about the memorable difference they made for your baby and your family.

Last year, neonatal healthcare professionals from over 30 U.S. states were nominated for their unmatched care of premature or medically fragile infants. We honored four nurses Kathy Knoll, Natalie Sorrentino, Marilee Lawson and Michelle White who were chosen as finalists. Dr. Stewart Lawrence, neonatologist, and Stephanie Horecky Hall, neonatal nurse practitioner, were named winners.

From now until May 14, 2015, you are invited to nominate your NICU health care hero for a 2015 NICU Heroes Award. Five finalists and two winners will be selected this year. Nominating is easy! Visit www.handtohold.org/hero to learn more and nominate the person who helped your family the most during its time of need. Finalists will be announced July 13; winners will be announced on August 3, 2015.

Amy Carr About Amy Carr

Amy Carr (TX) is a parent of a late-term preemie, Ella, born at 35 weeks. After an uneventful pregnancy, Ella's early birth and the complications that followed were a shock. Now in elementary school, her daughter is doing well and Amy enjoys using her writing, marketing and communications acumen on behalf of nonprofits and charitable causes. Formerly a founding staff member at Hand to Hold, you can reach Amy via email.

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