It's the season of giving, and one family wants to make sure those stuck in the hospital this Christmas get the gift of hope.
Clare Farnsworth came into the world earlier than expected. Mom Sarah says, "She was born early, two months early."
The premature birth was a surprise. Sarah Farnsworth says, "It was just a really normal pregnancy, and then I started having really bad back pain, at 28 weeks, and it ended up I was having contractions."
Clare was born ten weeks early. She spent forty days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Blank Children's Hospital learning how to live outside the womb. Farnsworth says, "It's something I don't think you ever prepare for, feeling helpless." Dad Dave Farnsworth says, "From a parent's perspective, you have that feeling of unknown."
Now, nearly four years later, Clare is doing great. And, the family wants to help others going through an extended hospital stay during a busy time of the year. Sarah says, "The holidays, of course, you just want to be at home with your kids, and bring your baby home with your family. And, so it's just really hard."
The family started what they're calling Project Hope. They're putting together gift baskets to give to families in the NICU during the holidays. Dave says, "Being able to have someone that blesses you with a gas card or food card, and not having to worry about all the other expenses building up from hospital bills, and just being able to be blessed by someone is great."
So far, more than twenty families have signed up to help. They're filling the bags with life's little necessities, like stamps, a journal, hand sanitizer, gas cards, gift cards and lots of little snacks. Clare shows one of the baskets saying, "Some of these, they are my favorite. These are cranberries."
The goody bags vary in cost from $15 to $40.But, you can't put a price on the item that's most needed. Sarah says, "That everyone kind of agrees that's the most helpful is just hearing from a mom, or getting contact information of someone who has gone through that, just to assure you that you will make it through this."
The family plans to deliver the packages a few days before Christmas. You can e-mail Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, if you’d like to help. The goal is to make enough bags for the nearly forty families that will likely spend the holidays in the neonatal intensive care unit.