For the second year in a row some of Kansas City’s tiniest babies celebrated their first Halloween dressed up as butterflies, superheroes or pumpkins, thanks to the March of Dimes and Saint Luke’s Hospital.
March of Dimes, through our NICU Family Support Program at Saint Luke’s Hospital, provided parents with critically ill newborns a moment to make a Halloween memory with their little ones. March of Dimes volunteers prepared costumes for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Professional photographers volunteered their services to capture images of the tiny trick or treaters. Parents were given the photos as a keepsake.
“Every day a child is in the NICU can be frightening and uncertain, but holidays are especially tough, as families miss the normal joys of celebrations at home.” says Rebecca Keunen, March of Dimes/ NICU Family Support Coordinator. “Baby’s first Halloween is a day they’ll want to remember and celebrate and March of Dimes is here with them at Saint Luke’s to help.”
Babies in the NICU may have been born too small, too soon, or with a medical condition that requires intensive care. The March of Dimes developed the NICU Family Support program to help support families during their baby’s time in the NICU. The program also educates NICU staff about the best ways to support babies, families, and each other.
In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born too soon each year – that’s 1 in 10 – a birth rate higher than that in most other high-resource nations. Babies born even before 37 weeks of pregnancy can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy, and intellectual delays.
A very special thank you to the 3 photographers, who are also moms of former NICU babies! I have included the photographer’s information below: