So many of us have either had a child in the NICU or know someone who has. Often, the family is whisked to the unit with nothing but the clothes they have on. Gabe’s Hope, Inc was founded by one of those parents.
Amy Sim’s son, Gabe was born in June of 2008 at Northport Medical Center. After his birth, he had many complications which led to his admittance to the NICU. When Gabe’s conditions did not improve, he was transported to UAB RNICU. Gabe spent six months there before passing away on Christmas night. During that time, Amy was there every day and every night.
Out of that heartache, Amy has started a foundation to assist parents who find themselves in her situation. Gabe’s Hope was founded to provide encouragement and to be a light to the families of babies born with congenital heart defects & other conditions at UAB. They hope to grow to support many more families at many more hospitals.
Knowing first hand the overwhelming feeling that comes with having a newborn in the RNICU, they have designed care packages that will be distributed to the families. These will provide necessities such as toiletries, baby items, snacks, meal gift cards, and other essentials to help make the stay in intensive care more comfortable. They also provide meals or meal gift cards to those families who feel they cannot leave the hospital during the holidays.
In addition, Gabe’s Hope implements the “Beads of Hope” program in Tuscaloosa and Northport. The “Beads of Hope” program is designed to provide encouragement and be a physical marker of each child’s unique and personal journey through treatment.
Families who wish to participate are given a necklace with their child’s name, as well as an “admission” bead, representing their admission into the unit. An additional bead is presented to the family marking each procedure or accomplishment. Each procedure or milestone corresponds to a certain color bead. The collection of beads becomes a personal keepsake or reminder of the child’s story while hospitalized.
On February 6, 2010, Gabe’s Hope will hold it’s inaugural “Heart&Sole 5K & 1 mile Fun Run”. This is an excellent opportunity to volunteer with the organization or participate in the run. For more information, including runner registration, donation opportunities and general information, visit their active.com page. Birminghammommy.com will be running as a team – we’d love you to join us! Details coming soon on that!
To find out more about Gabe’s Hope or how you can help, please visit their site at www.gabeshopeinc.org