CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (April 2000) – FORMER “NICU MOM” LOOKING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE for families of critically ill children at the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the UVA Children’s Medical Center with The New Hope Millennium Project.
Robin Johnson Bethke, publisher of AlbemarleKids.com, understands what it would mean for families in the NICU to have more rocking chairs and a library of books to read to the children. Two years ago and only 6 1/2 months pregnant with her first child, she awoke at 3am experiencing labor pains. By morning, UVA doctors were working hard to prevent delivery. Unable to stop the labor, there was a rush to enhance her unborn son?s lungs with a steroid treatment that would greatly increase his chance of survival. Within 72 hours of that night, her son was born at 1lb 15 1/2oz without the usual joy and congratulations from friends and family as doctors, nurses and technicians worked to save his life. Both Robin and her husband spent the following 3 1/2 stress filled months visiting their son at the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) each day while he grew and gained in strength. Having twice narrowly escaped death and many other complications that result from severe prematurity, her tiny little son is now a healthy and active toddler– a tribute to the advanced technology and loving care of our community?s exceptional Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Inspired by her own experiences, Robin has created the AlbemarleKids Care Exhibit, titled this year, the New Hope Millennium Project. She hopes the project will give new hope to NICU families through the special messages sent from local children through their artwork. The project will help to raise money for rocking chairs and books for the NICU through the financial donations given by family, friends, and businesses sponsoring the kid?s artworks. At her website, www.AlbemarleKids.com families will be able to visit an online Museum and view the drawings that the children have created to express their love and hope for the families in the NICU. The artwork will also be displayed as a paper quilt at various locations throughout the Children?s Medical Center.
Children who would like to join the Exhibit can attend Babyfest, Saturday, June 10 or send their artwork to: Albemarle Kid Productions 935 Owensville Road Charlottesville, VA 22901. Those children that are NICU graduates attending the annual NICU Picnic on Saturday, June 3, will have an opportunity to participate in the project while there. AlbemarleKids has also invited guest storyteller, Peter Jones, of Kid and Kaboodle WTJU-FM and guest juggler, Randy Mayo, of The School of Juggling Theatricks to perform for the children at the NICU Picnic.
Robin is still remembered two years later from her memorable interview with her and her son during the 1998 Children?s Miracle Network telethon. Those that saw the broadcast, remember her as “the mom that cried”. The interview was taken 3 1/2 months after her son?s birth, at the end of an unforgettable chapter of her life, and just two days before her son went home.
We want to express our warmest thanks for the community’s support of The New Hope Millennium Project. We raised over $4000 in cash and in-kind donations for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at UVA?s Children?s Medical Center and more that 100 pieces of art were created!
FOR MORE INFORMATION about AlbemarleKids publications, please call (434)984-4713, or email us, or visit our virtual offices at http://www.AlbemarleKids.com.