The March of Dimes will mobilize staff and volunteers to help families with newborns in intensive care units at hospitals in the United States to celebrate their first Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa as a family.
The initiative for families whose babies were born preterm will help create a warm first celebration this holiday season. A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature. Premature babies can face serious health challenges, including the development of cerebral palsy, breathing problems, vision loss, or intellectual and developmental delays.
Through the nonprofit organization’s NICU Family Support program, March of Dimes staff and volunteers will visit hospitals from Pennsylvania to Nevada, including:
- Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. Volunteer professional photographers will take holiday photos and give families a print and digital copy of their family photos as a gift.
- Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Newborn intensive care unit (NICU) families are invited to participate in several activities including a winter carnival and New Year’s Eve photo shoots, where babies can have their photos taken to mark the special event.
- St. Rose Dominican Hospital – Siena Campus outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Hospital staff will host a holiday family dinner and a baby shower event to give families who delivered prematurely the opportunity to have their own baby shower.
According to a press release, the NICU Family Support program is offered nationwide to provide information and support to families whose babies are in the NICU. The program helps over 75,000 families each year, with the help of more than 100 hospitals.
Last March, the March of Dimes launched an initiative involving 200 top maternal and child health experts and organizations in the U.S., called the Prematurity Campaign Collaborative, to give newborns the healthiest possible start of life. Later, in May, the organization received a $10 million contribution from Ferring Pharmaceuticals to support the March of Dimes Foundation’s goal of creating a new Prematurity Center in Europe, as part of the network of March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers, which includes five centers in the U.S.