Annual Reunion for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Graduates

Families came from Washington state, Southern California and throughout the Western Region. The occasion was the 30th annual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit “Grad Party” on September 23 at Packard Children’s. As in years past, the event was an emotional one, reuniting NICU graduates of all ages, born days, weeks or even months before their due date, with the heroes who provided their lifesaving care.

Over 500 ex-preemies, families and staff shared stories and smiles while bonding with other NICU families. “To see all these these kids we treated out living their lives reaffirms how special our work is, and it makes us extraordinarily proud of what we do,” said neonatologist Vinod Bhutani, MD.

There was plenty of entertainment, including face painting, clowns, a magician, petting zoo and more.  “It was really a fun afternoon for both the staff and families,” said nurse Roberta Harryman, co-chair and party guru with nurse Barbara Boyington. “These families are thankful for the care we provided, and we’re thankful to share in their happiness.” And there were more than just babies, children and teens. Some of the grads are now adults with their own babies.

“This type of reunion means a lot to everyone,” said William Benitz, MD, chief of neonatology and leader of a team that provides nationally recognized care for approximately 1200 of the more than 4500 babies born at Packard Children’s each year. “The emotional rollercoaster these families endured in the first days and weeks of their child’s life is something that not everyone can grasp. But being with others who have been through the same experience creates a bond that will connect them forever.”

Check out more photos of the Grad Party on Packard Children’s Facebook page.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)