For 29 years, the Z99 Radiothon has been bringing people together to help save babies’ lives.
On Thursday, businesses, students, community groups and grateful families lined up to donate money to the Hospitals of Regina Foundation in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
As a new first-time mom, Mary Juraville brought her son, Wesley, to the Cornwall Centre Thursday morning. At only 54 days old, he looks more like a newborn.
“He was premature, just over seven weeks early. He decided he wanted to come into this world early,” Juraville explained.
That’s how she learned first-hand how important the equipment at the NICU is.
“He needed to be intubated within the first 48 hours, his lungs collapsed and they had to intubate him, and CPR and chest compressions, so that was a little hard to see.”
Those emotional days in the NICU are a very fresh memory, as she recalls the fear and difficulty of not being able to hold him close. She describes the nurses and staff at the NICU as amazing, saying they taught her to care for him while he was so delicate.
“He was on a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, he had the nasal prongs to help the oxygen pump into him because his lungs collapsed and he wasn’t able to do it on himself,” Juraville described. “So without that, we wouldn’t be here.”
Patricia and Kiel Smith went through a similar experience when their twin boys Isaac and Xander were born at 31 weeks, or two months premature. The boys had serious reflux and needed oxygen because they stopped breathing properly.
“I remember I was holding Isaac and I was feeding him, and his heart rate, the beeping goes off and the nurses come running,” Smith said, explaining that she just froze.
She described how the nurses calmed her down and helped her get through it, because even though condition is very common in premature babies, it was the first time she saw it. As much as she and her husband wished they could have their sons at home, she said they were so grateful that they were in a place where they could get the proper care in a rush.
“I remember when I was sitting beside Isaac the one day I saw a little plaque that said donated by the Z99 Radiothon, and I knew I wanted to make sure I donated this year,” Smith said.
The family got together with friends and raised money to donate this year.
As of 7 a.m. Friday, $158,090 had been raised.