Volunteers provide source of hope for NICU families - KCTV5 News

Volunteers provide source of hope for NICU families

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Some local families were not able to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner at home because they are in a hospital with their newborns in the NICU, so dinner was brought to them.

Former NICU families, who understood their struggle, decided to come back to the hospital Thursday to serve the traditional feast to the current NICU families.

Precious little Lauren was born Oct. 25 weighing 2 pounds, 8 ounces.

She arrived 10 weeks premature so she has to spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit at Overland Park Regional Hospital to gain some weight before she can go home.

Her mom said it was stressful at first.

"I was nervous, crying and praying," said new mom, Lakesha Reddick. "They were telling me, 'Hold on, stay strong. And she will be out in no time - soon, like a regular baby.'"

There were many other little ones in the NICU who entered the world with a big fight ahead of them, and their parents are right by their side.

And thanks to people like Bob Stumpff and his wife, Thanksgiving was a little brighter.

"It's not the best place to spend Thanksgiving. (They) don't want to be in the NICU, but having a chance to have a good meal makes it easier," Stumpff said.

Jeni Rouse and her husband, Tyler, welcomed twins, Emma and Nora, last week.

"I was on bed rest in the hospital for over three months. So we fought pretty hard," Jeni Rouse said.

For Tyler Rouse, just being in the hospital day in and day out was tiresome.

"You kind of lose track of what day it is. It was Thanksgiving before you know it. Everyone ask about our plans. It was nice to have our meals here bring it back home, if you will," Tyler Rouse said.

Volunteers say this was about much more than just feeding families a nice meal. They were hoping to fill them with positive thoughts when they see the pictures of their healthy children.

"It's nice to give them an idea there is a happy ending at the end, because our son is doing so well now. It is nice for us to see nurses and doctors that took care of him," Stumpff said.

And the families say on Thanksgiving they have a lot to be grateful for.

"I can't imagine spending a better Thanksgiving than with them in our arms. No matter where it is," Jeni Rouse said.

Former NICU families formed a support group called Circle of Hope, and this was the fifth year they have hosted the dinner at Overland Park Regional.

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