NICU graduates reunite with lifesaving Mercyhealth medical staff

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 4:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Local families reunited with NICU personnel Saturday at Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea hospital.

From just a few days old to reaching adulthood, NICU graduates of all ages returned to Javon Bea with their parents to thank the staff for their lifesaving NICU department.

Families with a premature or ill newborn develop deep bonds with the medical staff that care for their child. Every NICU journey is different, but Mercyhealth doctors and nurses work to give each family a happy ending.

“They don’t really recognize us, but their mom and dad recognize us right away,” Brianne Greenhow registered nurse says. “And so many are in school now and it’s really heartwarming to see the progress they’ve made.”

Chris and Sarah Garby have a 10-month-old NICU graduate. They say the staff kept their daughter in high spirits and watched over her as if she were their own.

“It’s just a small, small, small part of your life right now and once you leave, it seems so big in the moment,” Sarah says. “But once you leave, it just becomes such a small portion of it, and I don’t want to say you forget but it just gets easier every day.”

The day was full of fun activities to allow the medical staff to reconnect with former patients in a fun environment. Pony rides, games and giveaways were just some of what the hospital had to offer.

“They all supported her so much,” Chris Garby says. “And now we get to come back and show them the love that they showed to her.”

Having a child in the NICU can be a terrifying experience for parents but Greenhow suggests each hurdle be taken one day at a time.

“We celebrate everything, like everything they do. The smallest thing that’s a milestone for them,” she says.

For more than 50 years, Mercyhealth has saved the lives of more than 20,000 NICU babies.