The Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation recently held the second annual NICU STRONG Walk. The walk was hosted by the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Family Advisory Council to support funding innovative treatment, cutting-edge equipment to provide exceptional care, and patient and family needs of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Hackensack Meridian Health Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.
“More than 900 people participated in this year’s walk, including the families of former patients and team members from the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., regional president, Northern Market, Hackensack Meridian Health. “The funds that everyone worked so hard to raise will be used to purchase more leading edge technology for our NICU, allowing us to continue as a leader in neonatal care.”
Since its inception in 2018, money has helped fund a Laerdal Premature Anne manikin, a SimNewB and some parent programs.
“I’d like to thank our entire team for creating a caring environment where our youngest of patients can grow and thrive,” said Judy Aschner, M.D., clinical director of the Children’s Care Transformation Service, Hackensack Meridian Health and physician-in-chief of Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. “Our team’s participation and support of this walk demonstrates their commitment to providing the very best care for our patients and their families.”
Led by Joseph and Giselle Mongiello and their twin daughters, who were born at 28 weeks, the NICU Family Advisory Council began NICUSTRONG to represent the strength of families, babies and the strong bond with the hospital team including physicians, nurses and other clinical and administrative team members.
“We cannot forget our time in the NICU, no matter how far we have come from it. The NICU at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital saved our little miracles,” Giselle shares.
Joseph adds, “We originally came up with the idea of the walk after attending a resource-group conference because we wanted to do more to help the NICU that helped us!”
The NICU Family Advisory Council is comprised of NICU graduate parents and team members to help current NICU families, and fundraise to support the NICU at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.
Approximately 80 newborns weigh less than 1,500 grams (three pounds, five ounces.) The Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital provides an array of services included neonatal transport, intravenous nutrition, mechanical ventilation, high-frequency oscillation (rapid ventilation up to 900 breaths per minute), body cooling for newborns and inhaled nitric oxide.