To raise awareness of preterm birth, graduates of the Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) recently reunited with their caregivers at a Day of Gratitude event hosted as part of the March of Dimes World Prematurity Day awareness campaign.
Families celebrated with cake and crafts, and the March of Dimes presented each NICU graduate with a purple superhero cape. Families with babies currently in the NICU also received hand-written notes containing words of encouragement from the former NICU families.
Tracy Brnusak, a nurse at Magee, organized the event to celebrate the NICU’s many success stories. Her own son Andy was born preterm at Magee, and he is now thriving in elementary school. Brnusak’s experience inspired her to switch roles at Magee and become a nurse in the NICU.
Approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year. Even babies born a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and increased risk for lifelong disabilities including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy and developmental delays. The March of Dimes works with hospitals like Magee to raise awareness of preterm birth with the hope of reducing the number of families it effects.