When Mark came home from the hospital, I knew immediately I wanted to give back to the NICU, somehow, someway. It took quite a bit of time and a lot of thinking, but I managed to come up with the idea to collect preemie onesies and donate them to the NICU where Mark was a former patient.
I called this endeavor Mark’s Mission.
I spent countless hours going through websites, making “wish lists”, speaking to friends and family too. On the invitation for Mark’s first birthday party, I asked everyone to bring a preemie onesie for donation to the NICU. I had friends with who I’ve lost contact over the years, reach out and ask to make donations. The turnout was tremendous!
The parents would be pleasantly surprised to walk into the NICU and see their son or daughter in something warm and cozy. At least one onesie or sleeper was given to each baby. There were a few times a parent was unable to provide clothes for them for the child in the hospital. Whether it is due to time constraints, travel arrangements, or financial troubles, a child in the hospital can create a lot of stress and financial burden. In that case, the child is given a little plain white onesie, until we are able to collect more onesies and sleepers or until the parents bring some in. Onesies and sleepers are more than just an article of clothing. It allows the parent to see their child as a person instead of a patient or a diagnosis.
In 2020, I decided to add board books to our collection for donations. Board books allow the mother or father to read to their little one. The child will become more aware of what mom and dad sound like on the outside of the womb. If you were living in a world where overstimulation was a common occurrence, you’d like a little comfort, right? Bright lights that you can’t turn off? Being surrounded by wires and beeps? Alarms are going off one after another? It sounds scary. Studies have shown that in cases such as this(which a NICU infant), a soothing, familiar voice is exactly the kind of comfort needed to lower increased heart rates, steady respirations, and soothe the child.
The onesies, sleepers, and board books create bonding opportunities for the family as a whole, which is incredibly important in the NICU. In our first year of Mark’s Mission (2019), over 50 onesies were donated. In our second year of Mark’s Mission (2020), over 250 onesies, 80 board books, and 5 NICU Milestone Journals were donated! I cannot thank you enough for all of that. This is why for 2021, we are still pushing to make Mark’s Mission the greatest year yet! It is my hope that you join me in making a donation to Mark’s Mission. Together we can help promote memorable family bonding experiences in our local NICUs!
Please consider making a donation by visiting the Mark’s Mission Amazon Wishlist.
How to make a contribution: Mark’s Mission Amazon Wishlist
**Mark’s Mission is NOT an established 501c3 Organization (YET!). Donations made are NOT tax deductible**