Olivia changed our lives irreversibly. That is unquestionable. We are different in many ways; our values and visions now shifted. Our temperaments have changed, our desires look different, and we’re searching for new ways to find meaning. There are many things about our future that are still unknown, but one thing right now is clear. We are being pulled towards service, and over the past few months have been soulfully seeking a way to give back that is both meaningful and deeply relevant. Relevant to us, to Olivia, to our story.
We began The Pink Zebra Club as a way to provide support to others at a time in their life when realizing they are not alone in their journey is game changing.
2017 Planned Programs
Our initial ideas for how we will support families of children with critical medical needs in 2017 were developed based on what we found practical, helpful, and meaningful during our own journey in the NICU and with infant loss.
Care packages have always felt like a simple yet valuable way to connect with mothers in the NICU. Everyone tells you to ‘take care of yourself’ in the NICU, but leaving is hard. Finding time to rest, take showers, get fresh air… finding time to do anything other than sit with your child is hard, both physically and emotionally. We hope to fill care packages with self-care and comfort items to make mom’s day easier.
Hospital vouchers for items such as coffee, food, and parking passes are just plain practical. Families experiencing long stays in the NICU are often faced not only with medical expenses, but other unforeseen costs that come along with being away from home and out of your normal routine. Gift cards for the hospital’s coffee shop are comforting, and subsidized parking passes remove a significant burden on parents and families who are traveling to and from the hospital, often multiple times per day, every day, for months at a time.
Fulfilling items from the NICU wish list will help ensure that the facility and staff that care for our children have the items they need to do so. The more clothes, developmentally appropriate toys, and equipment we can donate to the NICU, the more our children will have available at a time of need.
And finally, we hope to gift emotionally sensitive books and journals to recently bereaved families. Our book of choice is The Brightest Star by Phil Grimes, and journals may vary between available grief journals.
In 2017, our initial goals are focused on giving back and supporting families like ours in the Greater Rochester area. We’ve worked with team members at the Golisano Children’s Hospital NICU to learn more about their occupancy and needs as they relate to long term NICU stays and infant loss.
30 Care Packages
Deliver 30 care packages to the NICU’s Child Life department, so that each family experiencing a stay longer than one month will receive a package on their baby’s first month birthday.
12 Parking Passes
Donate 12 monthly parking passes to the NICU’s Social Work department, so that we provide one family with a subsidized or free parking pass each month of the year.
Wish List on 2 Occasions
Purchase and donate NICU wish list items on at least 2 special occasions: Olivia’s birthday on April 24 and Olivia’s angelversary on July 10.
40 Books for Bereaved
Send 40 books or journals to the hospital’s bereavement counselor, so that each family whose child passes away in the NICU receives a comforting book or grief journal.
Depending on the success of additional fundraising, and interest expressed by others like yourself, we will look to expand our programs and goals to reach families in other states and at other hospitals.
If you’d like to support a specific family or NICU beyond the Greater Rochester area, please email us. We’d be happy to discuss delivering care packages and books elsewhere!