A Pediatric Specialty Hospital Alumnus Gives Back
Meeting five-year-old Nahla, you’d never guess she was born prematurely. She bounces around the room from toy to toy, pausing every so often to announce what she’s found to her mom, Ashley. The pair is doing well today, but things weren’t always easy. As Nahla explores, Ashley recalls the first few days of her daughter’s life and how trying a time it was.
“When I was at the hospital, I felt so alone,” she says. Because her baby was starting out with complications, friends and family were unsure whether to celebrate the birth or express concern. It made Ashley feel isolated.
With her baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, bills began to pile up. Away from home, Ashley struggled to afford out-of-town stays, unable to work but needing to be near her daughter. It was a difficult circumstance to be in as she coped with the stress of her daughter’s medical condition. But when the two reached The Children’s Home, things began to change.
At The Children’s Home, Ashley was able to stay onsite free of charge, to be near her baby. The environment was comfortable and homelike, and she found a sense of community, befriending a fellow mom and forming a friendship that lasts to this day. And most important of all, The Children’s Home helped prepare her for home: “we transferred (to The Children’s Home) at 11:30 at night. They told me right then and there, ‘It doesn’t matter what you need, we will help you,’” Ashley explained. She was able to learn how to care for Nahla, becoming familiar with the oxygen she was on and the monitors she ended up coming home with.
They sent me home and I was prepared completely. We had every appointment and early intervention set up, I didn’t have to do anything,” she explained.
But once life got back to normal, Ashley felt compelled to give back to other moms struggling with a medically fragile child in the hospital, remembering an act of kindness during her NICU stay: “While I was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a lady dropped off insulated bags. The package had a note that explained the bags were from a graduate NICU mom. She knew how tricky it was to transfer milk back and forth when you’re pumping, and the bags were designed to help. It was her way of giving back. It made me cry I was so touched,” Ashley says.
The small act of kindness inspired Ashley to create the Christmas for Miracles Donation Drive. Today, she works to provide families in the hospital with helpful items, at no cost. Along with 20 direct sales consultants that volunteer with her to raise funds for everything from car seats, strollers, toys, wipes, clothes, water bottles, and more, it’s Ashley’s way of giving back to help families in need at The Children’s Home.