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

Team Hand to Hold Featured Runners

We are one month out from the Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and Paramount 5K! We’ve assembled a team of over 40 runners to fundRACE for Team Hand to Hold. Today we’re introducing some of those runners to you! Read all about who they are and why they run for NICU families.

Dr. Harper & Austin Retina Associates

Austin retina associates, dr armie harper

This year the wonderful employees at Austin Retina Associates, led by Dr. Armie Harper, have joined Team Hand to Hold to run for NICU families. Dr. Harper is a nationally recognized expert on retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a highly preventable cause of blindness in premature babies. He works all over the central Texas area and even volunteers in developing countries to spare babies all over the world from this disease. Dr. Harper is serious about the health of premature babies, visiting every baby in the NICUs at St. David’s Medical Center, St. David’s North Austin, St. David’s South Austin, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, Dell Children’s Hospital, Seton Medical Center, and University Health System in San Antonio.

Austin Retina Associates have joined together to fundraise for Team Hand to Hold and all of the NICU families we serve. We are so excited to have them as part of our team, and can’t wait for Race Day! If you would like to donate to Team Hand to Hold, please visit crowdrise.com/teamhandtohold.

Jessica Whinery

Jessica whinery, team hand to hold, Austin marathon

Jessica Whinery is no stranger to Team Hand to Hold. She ran in 2017, and we are thrilled to have her back again in 2018! Here’s a little bit of Jessica’s story on why she runs for Team Hand to Hold:

“Our daughter was born at 30 weeks weighing just 2lbs. Although we expected that she would be born premature, we did not fully grasp the alarming reality of having a preemie. We spent 56 long days in the NICU wondering when we could bring her home. During that time, Hand to Hold was a valuable resource for our family. The advice and information helped me be an advocate for my daughter, both in the hospital and when we came home. Hand to Hold Family Support Navigators made bedside rounds at night, offering a supportive, listening ear and literally giving me their hand to hold. They shared personal stories and experiences that helped me feel not so alone. After my daughter’s homecoming, Hand to Hold assisted our family in dealing with life after the NICU. I volunteered with Hand to Hold last year and will continue volunteering with this amazing organization because I experienced the amazing work they do!”

Jessica’s daughter is now an active and independent two-year-old. Read Jessica’s story and donate to her Team Hand to Hold fundraiser here.

Donate to a good cause

Not planning to participate in the race but you still want to help? You can still donate to Team Hand to Hold on our team fundraising page. Your financial support will be immediately and thoughtfully put to work to help minimize the impact and improve outcomes for NICU and bereaved families. Every step and dollar makes an impact. And thanks to a generous grant from the Moody Foundation, all funds raised for Official Charity Partners will be matched!

If you have any questions about registration, fundraising, or Team Hand to Hold, contact Zoe Roush at zoe@handtohold.org.

Leigh Ann Torres About Leigh Ann Torres

Online Community Coordinator, Preemie Babies 101 Lead Blogger - Leigh Ann Torres is a freelance writer, blogger and mother of three living in Austin, TX. After a short and sudden bout with severe preeclampsia, Leigh Ann’s identical twin girls were delivered at 31 weeks, spending 38 mostly uneventful days in the NICU. Two years later the Torres family welcomed another baby, this time at term, with only a mild case of preeclampsia. Leigh Ann currently runs Hand to Hold’s official blog and social media channels. When she’s not doing laundry or fulfilling requests for snacks, she usually has her nose stuck in a book. You can keep in touch with Leigh Ann on Twitter or via email.

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