I recently had a chance to pin down our busy President and Founder, Nick Hall, to ask him a few questions about the Circle of Hope campaign – which is a fundraiser unlike any other we’ve run before. He gave us an inside look into how this innovative campaign came to be and what Nick hopes to accomplish with it. If you’d like to learn more or become a part of the Circle of Hope, click here.
How was the idea for the Circle of Hope campaign born?
I was developing a relationship with American Greetings, which of course is well known for their greeting cards, as well as a brand that I discovered through my daughter, Reece: the Care Bears. Knowing how important it is as a parent to find Hope early in the NICU journey, I had this idea for a greeting card that would express that message of Hope, and I thought “Wouldn’t it be great if parents who had been through the journey could share a message of Hope for parents that are in search of it?” Needless to say, American Greetings thought it was a cool idea, too.
What makes the Circle of Hope campaign different from most fundraising efforts?
We are asking parents of premature babies to not only help “pay it forward” by donating money that will help us deliver more care packages, but also asking them to “pay it forward” by sending a message of Hope to those parents.
Will parents on the receiving end receive the actual handwritten card in their care package? How many parents do you aim to reach?
Yes, the handwritten cards will be added to all of the care packages we ship. Ultimately, we know there are hundreds of thousands of parents in the United States who go through the gut-wrenching journey of prematurity every year. Our goal is that no parent should have to go through the journey of prematurity alone, so in one way or another we want to reach all of those parents.
Why hope, versus strength or some other feeling parents of babies in the NICU have trouble accessing?
When parents are in the NICU and they’re not sure if their baby will survive and then if they do what their son or daughter’s quality of life will be, what they want most is hope.
What do you want parents who fill out the cards to get out of the experience?
I’d like them to know that their words could positively impact another parent going through that same experience and that something as simple as their message could make all the difference in the world. It’s a very powerful feeling.
If you were filling out a Circle of Hope card, what aspects of your own story would you feel most compelled to share?
I would share something about the word Miracle. The word is referenced quite a bit among preemie parents, and so often it is associated with a baby who has survived their prematurity journey and is doing quite well from a health perspective. While I desperately wanted to bring both Reece and Graham home, I am grateful for the 45 days that I was able to be with Graham, and while he couldn’t express anything to me nor could I to him, what I experienced with him was pure Love. The difference his energy and spirit are making in the world is a Miracle. I am simply a conduit of his Love.
What is it about the peer to peer connection that’s so important?
At our core, we all want to feel a sense of connection, and the journey of prematurity has the power to forge deep connections and understanding. But so many parents unfortunately walk the journey of prematurity alone. I hope that these cards will inspire more parents to host Circle of Hope meetups so every care package is filled with a very personal message of Hope.
Is this a type of campaign you could see yourself running again – once a year or even more often?
My hope is that this will be an ‘Always On’ campaign with preemie parent meetups happening all the time and Hope cards being filled out every day.