NICU Reunion a Great Success
More than 700 people attended the NICU Reunion this year held Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Kansas City Zoo. It was a great opportunity for families to connect with Children's Mercy staff. Lunch was served and there were educational activities for the kids throughout the zoo. In addition, it was Boo at the Zoo so families could dress in costume and go trick or treating.
Many of the families expressed their appreciation at the event and commented on how meaningful it is to be able to see the Children's Mercy team again. “It was so much fun,” said Abbie Richardson, former NICU mom. “Since we were in the NICU for so long it was so nice to see everyone and that everyone remembered the kids. It’s great to see everyone when life isn’t as stressful as it was when we all first met.”
Having the opportunity to reconnect with patients and families is also very important to the Children's Mercy team that is why they host this event to bring families and staff together.
“It was wonderful to see our former patients, dressed in costumes, growing and thriving,” said Steven Olsen, MD, Associate Division Director, Neonatology. “It was also touching to see our ICN nurses and ancillary support providers, who work so closely with the families, tear up when they met former patients. Some former NICU patients were running around and others continued to need medical support, but all showed the resilience that we love to see as our patients overcome their trials.”
NICU nurse Maggie Kolich, BSN, RN, agrees: “Besides discharge day it’s [the NICU reunion] my favorite day of my job; seeing our former patients outside the hospital walls growing to be normal kids.”
This is a Children's Mercy tradition that continues to grow with more and more families attending. “It was so special to us to see our nurses and our NICU neighbor,” said Morgan Comfort, former NICU mom. “It’s great to see how much the babies have all grown!”
The warmth and mutual admiration could be felt throughout the event and there were many teary eyed reunions.
“It was so good for my heart and soul to see the babies we’ve worked so hard with flourish and being happy now,” said occupational therapist Mich Hardy. “When we work with them so early on you just never know how it’s going to turn out and it’s amazing to see them now. The families were so appreciative and wonderful to visit with.”
The next NICU Reunion will be held in 2019 and we are already excited about what that day will bring. Special thanks to our donors and volunteer staff who helped make a great day for the families.