THUNDER BAY -- All it takes is one look at his daughter Aleksandra for Tom Warden to understand the importance of the neonatal intensive care unit at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Born six weeks premature, Alexandra is a healthy, curious 21-month-old toddler, laughing and smiling at the world around her. But in those first few days Warden and his wife Jennifer weren’t sure what the future might hold for their newly born child.
It’s why the Lakehead University athletic director was front and centre at the hospital on Tuesday, asking the public to support the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Foundation’s annual Christmas card appeal, the proceeds of which will be used to replace outdated equipment in the neo-natal ICU.
“I think it’s such an important cause and such an important thing for families and for our community,” Warden said.
He recalled the stress, adding other families experience a lot worse. Thankfully his daughter’s condition wasn’t too bad, Warden said.
Others aren’t so fortunate.
“I think that we were probably one of the less difficult cases they see. There are a lot more complex, difficult cases,” he said.
“But for us it was our family, and our child. What made it easier definitely was the professionalism and the care that we got from the doctors and from the nurses, particularly, in ICU. I can’t even explain the love and care they give a child.”
Glenn Craig president and CEO of the TBRHSF, said he’s hoping for a Christmas miracle.
In 2011, 1,563 babies were born at the hospital, and 261 needed specialized care found in the neonatal unit.
“It’s a very technologically advanced department. At the hospital we’re about eight years old now. A lot of the equipment was brand new when we first came, and it’s reaching end of life. We really want to make sure the pediatricians, the nursing staff, really the entire team, have the best tools to give these young patients the best chance,” Craig said.
The campaign goal is $90,000.
Donors also get to place a star with their name on the Christmas tree in the hospital foyer. To donate, phone 345-4673 or visit www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca.
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