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The 31st Annual Z99 Radiothon is underway at the Cornwall Centre, lasting 36 hours straight.
All the money raised will go towards the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Regina General Hospital to help premature babies like Brooks Schneider, now two years old, who spent the first three weeks of his life in the unit.
His mom Tiarra Schneider said Brooks went into respiratory distress when he was born in Moose Jaw, and was transferred to the Regina NICU. He was connected to a compressed positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help him breathe.
After six hours of being on the CPAP, Brooks had holes in each of his lungs, which caused his lungs to collapse.
Brooks had to be emergency incubated because his lungs were too weak to be on a ventilator.
Eventually he had to be placed on an oscillator with nitric acid to help him breathe, as he couldn’t handle a full breath of oxygen on his own.
“It was super, super scary. There was a time where they said ‘you know, we don’t know what’s going to happen here,’ and I’m so thankful that we have this unit because honestly without NICU he would not be here today,” she said.
In the first week of Brooks’ life, he had two nurses with him at all times because they didn’t know what was going to happen with him.
With having two babies already, Schneider said it was awful and amazing at the same time knowing she was entrusting Brooks’ life to others.
“It was so hard for me that I wasn’t able to hold him in those first precious moments, I couldn’t pick him up and make his pain and discomfort (go away), and make him all better,” Schneider said.
“I’m so glad that I had these nurses to do that for me … they’re sent from heaven, they’re angels walking among us.”
Schneider held a fundraiser over the weekend ahead of the Z99 event, promising to make a hat for an NICU baby for every $20 donation.
She ended up making 75 hats and raised $7,000 for the radiothon.
People can donate to the radiothon at Z99.com, by calling 306-522- KIDS (5437) or in person at the Cornwall Centre until Friday.
As of 10 p.m. on Thursday, the radiothon had raised $153,063.