Our very own Graham’s Foundation NICU Ambassador Erica Hall recently made the news for her work at the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at Niswonger Children’s Hospital and we couldn’t be prouder. We connected with Erica to chat with her about her work as a NICU Ambassador and why it’s important to her to give back.
Graham’s Foundation NICU Ambassadors serve as a representative for us at both their local NICU and in the community, helping raise awareness for our programs and connecting with other preemie parents. Our Q&A with Erica begins below:
1. How did you become a NICU Ambassador and how long have you been a part of the team?
I became a NICU Ambassador after stumbling across the website. I was looking for resources to help me understand prematurity. I was already overwhelmed with having triplets and then premature on top was an overload. Once I found out about being an Ambassador I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
2. What drove you to become a NICU Ambassador? What did you want to accomplish?
I wanted to be able to provide support for preemie parents. I have been in their shoes and I wish so many times that I had some sort of support. I didn’t want other parents to feel the way that I did. I want others to know what Graham’s Foundation can do for them.
3. Do you feel you’ve accomplished the goals you original set for yourself in the role?
Not yet. Graham’s Foundation is something that I wish I could devote more time to. I want to be able to educate others that work in the NICU so that they can pass the information on to others. Until I can talk with every preemie parents that comes through the NICU my goals won’t be met. I want to do more and more.
4. What’s the best thing about being a NICU Ambassador?
The people that I get to meet are my favorite part. You meet the kindest people and they are grateful for any and all information that you can give them. They are so excited to know that they are not the only one that has been or is going through the things they are. Maybe it is just me but I feel that people look at me and say if she could remain positive so can I. I meet people whose are on a better, if their is such thing, NICU journey than I was and I can still relate to their emotions which help them. I meet people whose NICU journey is worse than mine and I can still relate to them too emotionally. We all are or have experienced the same emotions at some time and we are all grateful for someone to be able to relate and talk to us.
5. How would you like to see the program evolve in the future?
I would love for the program to be more known. Here in Johnson City nobody had even heard of Graham’s Foundation. I want others to know about it and what it can do. I want others to get involved and be excited like I am. I want others to want to be a part of this wonderful foundation. I hope that the program could evolve enough that a building or post had to be established for all the interest and people needing information.
6. What advice would you give to parents who are considering joining the program?
Do it and don’t think twice. Even after my NICU journey I still needed support and this program was a way for me to continue to get that support. It’s such a rewarding position and the satisfaction you get from helping other preemie families is tremendous. Then as part of the program you also get to celebrate the milestones of all the preemies you meet. It’s a celebration everyday. Your heart really can’t get any fuller.
Interested in becoming a Graham’s Foundation NICU Ambassador? Our NICU Ambassadors:
- Establish and maintain a relationship between Graham’s Foundation and their local NICU
- Deliver care packages and other support materials at specified times to their NICU throughout the year
- Help celebrate Parents of Preemies Day at their local NICU and in their community
- Help raise funds for Graham’s Foundation so we can continue and expand our program
- Be available to provide local support to parents in your community, if requested