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Akron Children’s NICU ‘grads’ invited to reunion

No matter how big they are today, all graduates from Akron Children’s NICU are invited to a NICU reunion on Oct. 21. Families are encouraged to bring new and old photos of their NICU grads to be included in a scrapbook made at the reunion.

Akron Children’s Hospital is hosting a reunion for all patients – and their families – who have spent time in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit or one of its special care nurseries.

The 2012 NICU Reunion will be Sunday, Oct. 21, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Summit County Fairgrounds in Tallmadge. The event is free but registration is required.

“This is a great opportunity for families to reunite with doctors and nurses and other families,” said Colette Benincasa, RN, a NICU nurse and co-event coordinator. “Families develop close bonds while in the NICU and this is an opportunity to share stories, re-connect and celebrate.”

The reunion will include games, crafts, face painting, music provided by a DJ, and refreshments.

Speakers will include current and past medical directors of the NICU and there will be a special preview of the new NICU being built as part of the hospital’s new critical care tower to be opened in 2015.

Families are encouraged to bring new and old photos of their NICU grads to be included in a scrapbook made at the reunion and to be kept in the NICU. Families may also submit photos to Kristie Stefan, March of Dimes coordinator, at kstefan@chmca.org for a slideshow at the reunion.

“The reunion will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support Program,” said Stefan, who’s also a co-event coordinator. “Akron Children’s was one of the first three NICUs in the country to pilot the March of Dimes program and now there are more than 100 across the country.”

The March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program recognizes the importance of comfort and education for families who have a premature or critically-ill newborn in the NICU, and also helping with the transition to home.