Preparations are underway for Parents of Preemies Day (http://parentsofpreemiesday.org) and we’re kicking it off with a social media campaign that will show the world the impact premature birth has on families. Throughout March and April we’re inviting preemie parents to share photos and artwork highlighting the number of days their babies spent in the NICU on the Parents of Preemies Day Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/parentsofpreemiesday).
Our goal is to break one million days before May 4th!
“Every parent can tell you the exact number of days their preemie spent in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) before coming home,” said our founder and president, Nick Hall. “And parents who’ve experienced loss know how many days their babies lived before they had to say goodbye. It’s that kind of commitment – as well as that kind of strength – that Parents of Preemies Day was created to recognize and honor.”
In practical terms, parents’ commitment often takes the form of hundreds of miles traveled each week – along with hundreds of dollars spent – to visit babies too sick to come home. Preemie mom Billie Jo Watson wrote on the Graham’s Foundation Facebook page, “We lived 60 miles away from our NICU and we could spend two nights a week at a nearby hotel that had rooms reserved for us parents. During the rest of the week, between gas and food, we probably spent $300 dollars a week. It wasn’t easy but we made it.” Watson’s experience is far from unusual.
Nick and his wife, Jennifer, know the emotional and practical impact of prematurity first hand, having experienced the birth of their twins 15 weeks prematurely before facing the trials of the NICU and the loss of their son, Graham (our namesake). Their experiences inspired them to create Graham’s Foundation, to support preemie parents year round and Parents of Preemies Day, which has grown into a much-anticipated global happening in just three years.
In 2013, we’re proud to say Parents of Preemies Day was featured on both Babble and Parenting.com as well as in local print and broadcast media, thousands of parents shared their stories and photos on the Parents of Preemies Day Facebook page and on their personal blogs, nearly a thousand people attended Parents of Preemies Day events, and #parentsofpreemiesday was a trending topic on Twitter.
“Parents of Preemies Day is not only our way of introducing the world to the broader, lasting impact of premature birth on moms and dads,” added Nick. “It’s also our way of celebrating how amazingly these parents cope and even thrive when thrust into what is for most a frightening and overwhelming experience. They deserve to be recognized.”
You can participate in the Million Days Campaign by submitting their original photos at https://www.facebook.com/parentsofpreemiesday for the chance to win fun prizes each week! Want to know more about how you can help spread the word about Parents of Preemies Day? Email [email protected]!