Thanksgiving meal served to families of babies - KCTV5

Thanksgiving meal served to families of babies at NICU

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At noon Thursday at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center, families who know what it's like to have a tiny loved one in the neonatal intensive care unit will serve a Thanksgiving meal to parents who currently have children receiving care.

They will share much more than food – they share a common bond and understanding of the obstacles families face.

Baby Victor is about to turn 4-months-old. He entered the world a little early and was born at just 23 weeks.

"I'm blessed that he is here because they did say he had a 10 percent chance of living," said his mother, Romanie Louis.

Adorable feet prints show just how small Victor was. On the day he was born, Victor was just 12 inches long.

"He is doing great. He went from one pound six ounces to almost six pounds now, so he is doing very good," said Vital Louis, his father.

Victor's parents desperately wanted to take him home, but knew he needed specialized care.

"It was very depressing because I just wanted to take him home so badly," Romanie Louis said.

Instead, the parents visit Victor every day at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center's NICU. They will spend Thanksgiving there, but they won't be alone.

Twenty families who formerly had babies at the medical center's NICU will serve Thanksgiving meals to 50 families currently with critically ill babies.

"A lot of the NICU parents are going through a tough time knowing their kid is in the hospital," Vital Louis said.

A meal served by those who truly understand is comforting for Vital and Romanie Louis.

"Hopefully once we go home I can be one of the parents that gives strength to the other mothers," Romanie Louis said.

Victor's parents hope he will be home in time for Christmas. They say many families with babies in the NICU offer each other support on a regular basis. Many join the support group called the Circle of Hope NICU Foundation.

This is the fifth year the hospital is holding the special meal for NICU families.

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