Cochrane NICU families call to connect

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Families who have been touched by the care they received through a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), are encouraged to connect through craft in an effort to raise funds for families in need.

Based on the recent response from Cochrane NICU moms, Strathmore mom Lynnsy Plunz and Melissa Gaylard of Calgary NW are looking to host an event in Cochrane ahead of Nov. 17 – World Preemie Day.

For the fourth year running, Gaylard, owner of online clothing company Jacob Grace Designs, with the help of other NICU parents and the generosity of small businesses, has been putting together gift baskets to be delivered to families in Calgary NICU care – the little extra necessities that make life just a little more comfortable through her initiative called The Small and Mighty Project.

“My goal was 400 gift baskets and we did 486,” said Gaylard, who is a mom of three who required NICU care for each of her babes – one born at 33 weeks and her twins at 26 weeks. All of her children are healthy today.

“Combined total, my babies spent 200 days in the Calgary NICU … this gives back to families in the NICU,” said Gaylard.

Plunz is also a mom of three who relied on NICU care for her twins at birth.

The owner of Make it Night, she has paired up with Gaylard for the Little Warrior Farmhouse Signs NICU fundraiser on Sept. 20.

The event will be held at the Saskatoon Farm – located south of Calgary – at 7 p.m. where $40 will see patrons make a Little Warrior sign to be included in The Small and Mighty Project baskets, as well as one artistic sign to take home.

“It’s two moms working together and all the money goes toward the project,” said Plunz, adding that because the drive is far for Cochrane parents – many of whom have reached out to the women – they are hoping to host a DIY night in Cochrane sometime next month.

Valentina Fenton is a Cochrane NICU mom, whose son, Darroch, spent 22 days at the Foothills Hospital NICU due to a hypoxic brain injury. Now five years of age, the mother of four has rallied behind many initiatives to raise funds for NICU families over the years.

“NICU machines are mostly paid for with fundraised money … the doctors of Foothills NICU raised $100,000 themselves for the unit last year. That’s how much they know the difference a fundraiser can make.”

Cochrane NICU moms who wish to sign up for the Sept. 20 event can do so through makeitnight.ca.

Those who wish to support The Small and Mighty Project can order a shirt through Jacobgracedesigns.com at any time, where proceeds will go toward Calgary NICUs.

The small business women are encouraging Cochrane families who would like to be involved in future events in town to reach out to them through Facebook.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.