The free event is sponsored by Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes in celebration of the 10th anniversary of a national NICU family-support program.
Children’s was one of three sites that the March of Dimes selected to develop the family-support program a decade ago. Since then, the service has expanded to include more than 100 neonatal intensive-care units across the country.
Through the program, each family receives a free “parent care kit,” which includes a glossary of commonly used NICU medical terms and a baby book in which parents can mark special firsts — things like the first time a premature baby can wear clothing or the day when an IV line or ventilator is removed.
“Most baby books, they don’t quite fit what happens in the NICU,” said Kristie Stefan, March of Dimes NICU family-support specialist at Children’s Hospital and co-coordinator of the reunion.
The support program also provides meals, education and scrapbooking.
“A lot of my time is spent in the unit, just talking with families and seeing how they’re doing,” she said.
Stefan is a “NICU graduate mom” who experienced the support program firsthand before joining the March of Dimes several years ago.
Her daughter, Michaila, spent her first two months in the Children’s NICU after being born 10 weeks premature nearly eight years ago. The girl’s twin sister died.
“It was a program I absolutely believed in and found incredibly helpful,” Stefan said.
The NICU reunion is open to former patients of the unit on the main campus or any of the special-care nurseries run by Children’s Hospital.
So far, more than 120 NICU graduates from as long ago as 1981 have registered, Stefan said.
The event will include games, face-painting, music and refreshments, as well as a preview of the new NICU that will be part of the hospital’s expansion.
The deadline to register is Oct. 1.
For information or to register for reunion, visit www. akronchildrens.org/nicureunion or call 330-543-3463.
Free cancer screening
Akron General Health System is offering free prostate cancer screenings for underinsured or uninsured men.
Testing will be available from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at Akron General’s Health & Wellness Center-Green, 1940 Town Park Blvd.
To register, call 330-344-2462.
Free health talk
Learn ways to keep the mind and body healthy at age 55 and beyond with a free community presentation from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Akron General’s Health & Wellness Center-West, 4125 Medina Road, Bath Township.
The integrative medicine presentation will be led by Dr. Moshe Torem.
For information, call 330-344-6361.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.