Our Halloween Candy Drive has come to a close and the candy is slowly starting to pour in. To date, the feedback has been extremely positive and we are looking forward to sharing it with you over the next few weeks.
As volunteers spend their time counting candy and crafting cards with well wishes to families who are caring for kids at Boston Children’s Hospital, I can’t help but stop and think about today.
In case you were not aware, today is World Prematurity Day. This is a day that draws attention to a very serious health problem, preterm birth. According to March of Dimes, the complications of preterm birth outranked all other causes as the world’s number one killer of young children. Of the estimated 6.3 million deaths of children under the age of 5 in 2013, complications from preterm births accounted for nearly 1.1 million deaths.
If you have never spent any time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, also known as the NICU, consider yourself lucky and blessed. I have been there twice, with two different outcomes. Both experiences were some of the most challenging times of my life. There were many times I felt like I was in a scene of Saving Private Ryan, only I was not a solider in WWII. I was a parent entering a battle to work with the staff at Boston Children’s Hospital to try and save my child’s life.
While this was an incredibly painful time for me, it was also eye-opening. Clear to me was the fact that families like mine were in dire need of support. We were living the darkest days of our lives and, during that time, even a simple smile from a stranger would give us that much needed boost to feel like ultimately things would be OK.
As I sat in the NICU in the midst of my own war zone, I could not help but peruse the room and take inventory of expressions many parents and loved ones wore on their faces. Everyone had a story. Some wore the look of exhaustion from working two jobs and then rushing to the hospital to be by their child’s side while others were painted with perplexed looks because they had no idea what the doctor was telling them about their child. Sadly, many of these expressions were signs of helplessness, exhaustion, and ultimately, defeat.
At that moment it was clear to me that something needed to be done to support families caring for children who were gravely ill. These families, also known as the bravest soldiers I know, needed support and luckily my friends and family agreed that together we could inspire others to be the change the world wanted to see and simply shine a light on families in need.
At that very moment, The B Fund was born. Our mission is simple. We aim to inspire parents and their children through education and activities that empower all to BE the change that will transform the world. Proceeds from The B Fund benefit Boston Children's Hospital in its efforts to support families caring for critically ill children.
Speaking from experience, we have no idea what people are going through and the battle they are up against. Imagine, a smile or a simple act of kindness can get someone through some of the most challenging times of their life.
Be brave, Be kind and Be the change the world needs to see.
With love and gratitude, honor World Prematurity Day.