On Thursday, November 10th I had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards in Omaha. As a pediatric healthcare planner who strives to improve neonatal intensive care units all across North America, the March of Dimes Mission holds a special place in my heart:
“Prematurity is the #1 killer of babies in the United States. We are working to change that and help more moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. From polio to prematurity the March of Dimes has focused on researching the problems that threaten our children and finding ways to prevent them.”
I am incredibly fortunate to be the father to three beautiful, healthy children and have never had to experience the difficulty of having a premature child. But I know it from the pain I see on parents’ faces in NICUs across the country, a look that implores ‘please, just help my child make it through this day.’ This stress doesn’t go away until their child “graduates” to go home.
At the Nurse of the Year awards we heard the story of Isabelle Thallas, a child who was born premature at 32 weeks and weighed less than five pounds. Isabelle’s mother, Anne, spoke to the group about their family’s experience in the NICU and how the March of Dimes helped them through this trying time.
Isabelle persevered and graduated from the NICU in only three weeks due to the care that she received. Sadly, at 16 months old she passed away from a tragic accident at her daycare. My heart poured out listening to Anne tell of having lost her child after overcoming so much. Anne wanted everyone to understand that she was given extra, precious time with her daughter because of the March of Dimes.
After Isabelle’s death Anne joined a family team committee with the March of Dimes, eventually becoming the chair. She wanted to give back however she could and to share her story with others to help bring awareness to the great work that the March of Dimes does to help babies and their families, especially in a time of loss. You can find Isabelle’s story below and donate in her memory to support the March of Dimes mission.
HDR is the platinum sponsor of the Nebraska Nurse of the Year Awards, and it fills me with pride to work for a company that supports this mission. At the ceremony I had the opportunity and was humbled to present the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dozens of other awards were handed out that night, each recognizing amazing nurses and their impact on families and the medical community. I want to personally thank each and every nurse and the March of Dimes for all of the amazing work that they do to help those in need.