Patients, Caregivers Celebrate 28 Years Of Care At Holston Valley's Annual NICU Reunion

Physicians and staff at Holston Valley Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit are grateful for the opportunity to treat premature and sick babies - and take great pride in watching them grow into healthy children and adults.

They'll have their chance to see just how far their patients have come Sunday, May 4, during Holston Valley's annual NICU reunion.

The event will be held from 2-4 p.m. at the Holston Valley Outpatient Center on the Eastman Outpatient Campus at 103 W. Stone Drive in Kingsport. All NICU graduates and their families are invited.

Graduates include anyone who has been treated in Holston Valley's NICU during its 28-year history. During the celebration, visitors can enjoy games, door prizes, photos and refreshments.

"The unique bonds our team makes with our patients are truly remarkable," said Laurie Kaudewitz, Holston Valley's director of women's and children's services. "We're there at the beginning of these babies' lives, and we keep our connection to them and their families for years, even into adulthood.

"It's incredible to see our graduates - whether they're 5-year-olds about to enter kindergarten or 25-year-olds planning their weddings - and remember a time when they only weighed a pound or two."

Patients as young as 24 weeks - newborns requiring the very highest level of care - have received care in Holston Valley's Level III NICU, which has 15 dedicated beds with skilled physicians and staff members. A specially certified NICU medical team provides essential services to ensure the safety and well-being of newborns, including hearing screenings and other tests for babies prior to leaving the hospital.

Holston Valley and Wellmont Foundation recently launched a $2.5 million project to enhance the quality of care NICU babies receive. Through the Next Generation;fundraising campaign, Holston Valley will add valuable services and provide more space and comfort for patients and families.

"Our first NICU patients are now in their late twenties. As we enter our second generation in the NICU, we are committed to provide patients, their families and our medical professionals with the facilities and space they need," said Todd Norris, Wellmont's senior vice president of system advancement and Wellmont Foundation president. "Through the philanthropy of our friends and neighbors, some of our region's most vulnerable children will continue to heal and live full, thriving lives."

Holston Valley's NICU is a beneficiary of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals;funds. Wellmont Health System is the regional affiliate of Children's Miracle Network and uses proceeds to purchase equipment for the NICU and its pediatric and emergency departments and fund community partnerships that advance children's health.

To learn more about Holston Valley's NICU, please call 423-224-6280. Pledges to the Next Generation campaign can be made at any time by visiting www.wellmont.org/nextgen or by calling 423-230-8550. More information about Children's Miracle Network is available at www.childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org.