For Amy Wokojance, Christmas just isn’t Christmas until her family makes its annual visit to Akron Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) delivering decorated miniature trees to every baby.
Ten years ago, her daughter, Kamryn, was a patient in the unit.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since Kamryn was here herself,” said Amy, of Ashland. “Kamryn spent 79 days in the NICU and got to go home Dec. 30. Coming here brings out all those emotions.”
Each of the next 9 years since that first Christmas at the hospital, Amy has made a commitment to giving back by making the trees.
And they are truly a labor of love for Kamryn, Amy and Amy’s mother, Roberta, and aunt, Holly.
Making the trees requires numerous visits to area craft stores, finding small trees, tiny, battery-operated garlands of lights, and miniature ornaments that look likes bottles, booties, diaper pins and other baby items. Each tree is personalized with a baby’s name on the star at the top.
They work on the trees for 3 months and spend hundreds of dollars on materials.
It’s just their way of never forgetting the doctors and nurses who helped Kamryn get through 5 surgeries so early in life.
“Life gets very busy,” said Amy. “But we love doing this and it seems to mean a lot to the families we meet. Hopefully, they will always cherish these trees even when their babies grow up.”