FOLSOM, Calif. — One in ten babies are born early. The tiniest ones, who weigh under two pounds, can spend months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Friends of NICU — a volunteer-run nonprofit group—is doing something to help families in the Sacramento and Nor-Cal region cope with the difficult and sometimes months-long wait while their baby recovers in the community’s NICUs.
Friends of NICU exists solely to help families survive the emotional and financial hardship of having a baby in the NICU. The group’s biggest fundraiser is the Celebration of Miracles, gala event including dinner, wine tasting, and auction. The 2016 Celebration of Miracles will be Saturday, November 12 from 5:30-11:00 at the Lake Natoma Inn in Folsom, Calif. Each year the event has generated $40,000-50,000 from the silent and live auction. All of those funds go directly to help families be with their babies so they can bond, get well, and go home. Primary sponsor for the 2016 Celebration of Miracles include:
- Serrano Search
- Mercy Medical Group
- Len & Kasey Purkis
- Wells Fargo
- Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center
Tim and Elanie Purkis started Friends of NICU in 2007 after their own experiences with twin boys in the Mercy San Juan Hospital. They boys had excellent care but they noticed that many families struggled to cope not only with the fear and uncertainty of how their baby would fare, but with lost work time or the strain of added costs in getting to and from the hospital.
“When our boys were born, we had a stable financial situation and lived close to the hospital where family and friends could help and support us,” said Elanie. “But, we saw so many families who had to drive two or three hours to be with their babies in the NICU. Many were already having a tough time and the cost for meals or gas for their cars added more stress to an already difficult situation.” So, Tim and Elanie decided to do something about it and started Friends of NICU.
Friends of NICU raises money to give families gas cards so they can get to the hospital. The foundation also has two travel trailers at Mercy San Juan Hospital where families can stay while their babies get well. “The motor homes have been full continuously since the day they were purchased and placed at the hospital. Dozens of families have gotten to stay in them.”
About Friends of NICU
Friends of NICU (FriendsOfNICU.org) is a 501-c-3 organization that is run entirely by volunteers. All contributions go directly to support families and their babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Mercy hospitals and Sutter hospitals in the Sacramento Area.
Contact for the Media: Jennifer Harrison, [email protected] or 916.716.0636
Contact Jennifer for interviews, images and additional personal stories from the families FON has helped.