This year, we’re honored to have Deanna Fei, Author of Girl in Glass and a preemie mom, presenting our Hope award at our New York City ‘Tinis for Preemies event this October. Deanna Fei famously spoke out when the CEO of AOL blamed her preemie gril for a cut to the company’s benefits package. The simple phrase he used – “distressed babies” – inspired Fei and thousands of parents of preemies like her to speak out about how you can’t put a price on a baby’s life.
“Last April, my husband and I were invited by Nick Hall of Graham’s Foundation to a gathering in New York City for parents of premature babies. Our daughter, a 25-week preemie, had recently become the subject of countless headlines after my husband’s CEO publicly blamed her medical bills for company-wide benefit cuts. I had just broken through the trauma and isolation that had surrounded me since my daughter’s birth to defend her in an essay that went viral. I had spoken out on national TV to show the humanity behind the headlines. But, until now, I had never shared a table with other preemie parents to talk about the tragedies and triumphs that united us.
As we all recounted how our babies arrived in the world, I began to feel transformed by the support and solidarity from other parents. I began to understand how babies like ours not only challenge, but ultimately affirm our shared humanity. And I realized the true importance of Graham’s Foundation’s vision: “a world where no parent goes through the preemie journey alone.” Over the following months, as I researched and wrote my new memoir, GIRL IN GLASS, that evening turned out to be pivotal in my exploration of my daughter’s harrowing journey and parenthood at its most elemental. In bringing this story to the wider world, I hope to help other families feel less alone, as Graham’s Foundation has done for me.
This is why I couldn’t be more honored to join the committee for this year’s “’Tinis for Preemies” gala to benefit Graham’s Foundation. On October 1st, I will present the Hope Award to Dana Wechsler Linden, Emma Trenti Paroli, and Mia Wechsler Doron, the coauthors of PREEMIES: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies—an invaluable work that truly lives up to its title.
I hope you’ll join us in these vital efforts to support a unique organization that does so much to empower and support parents of premature babies through the most vulnerable and transformative time in their lives.”