The Melissa George Fund: Helping Tiny Patients at Huntsville Hospital

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The 8th annual Miracle Bash and Swim for Melissa are coming up this weekend. Those two events are the biggest fund raisers for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund that benefits Huntsville Hospital’s tiniest patients.

Eight years ago when Chris and Amy George set up the fund in memory of one of their twins who died shortly after birth, they decided to help other parents who might have to make the same trip through the regional neonatal intensive care unit at Huntsville Hospital for women and children. They wanted to buy lifesaving equipment to help the doctors and nurses give the tiniest miracles a better chance of surviving. The Giraffe Omnibed was at the top of the list.

Amy remembers, “When the nurse first contacted us about purchasing these, Chris told me that when he came up and looked at them for the first time, she said to him, Ann Catherine would so have benefited from one of these beds. And that just made it a no-brainer at that point for us”

In seven year, 11 beds have been bought thanks to donations to Melissa’s fund. Dr. Meyer Dworsky says his goal is to have 20 in the next couple of years. The beds aren’t cheap. They cost $35,000 each. But Dr. Dworsky says there’s no doubt the beds have helped save lives.

The regional NICU is the only level III intensive care unit for critically ill babies in north Alabama. And sometimes, babies from neighboring Mississippi and Tennessee are brought here so they’ll have a better chance at life. The staff cares for more than a thousand babies a year but thanks to equipment like the Giraffe Omnibed, the survival rate is climbing.

Dr. Meyer Dworsky says, “The most important function that we’ve seen is that the babies are much more stable in the first two weeks of life. And we have very few babies these days who die in the first two weeks so yes, that’s really the best way to look at this.”

Sadly, some little miracles will still lose the battle, but your donations will help give them a fighting chance. Amy George recalled, “Chris and I have walked both sides of this NICU journey. We brought a child home and then we said goodbye to a child in this unit so we know that there’s no magic cure all but to think that these beds can at least give those babies a better chance than maybe what we were just able to give them eight years ago, that overwhelms me sometimes to even think of that.”

If you’d like to donate, follow this link to the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund.

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