SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - September is NICU Awareness Month, and Honor Health is preparing for its third annual NICU High Tea Fundraiser, which benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Scottsdale Shea Medical Center.
The event is virtual this year, but their goal is still the same.
"You know, looking at my little two-pound babies with all kinds of wires strapped to them -- there's nothing that can prepare you for that," said mother Alyssa Heidt.
Heidt delivered twins Brody and Crew at 28 weeks and three days.
"In the type of twin pregnancy that I had, I had one placenta so these two were sharing a food source, and one baby was giving all of his food and blood to the other baby," Heidt explained. "[One] was getting too much and one wasn't getting enough."
The two boys spent 90 days at the NICU at Honor Health Shea.
Stacy Lovell's twins were also delivered at 28 weeks via C-section and also spent time in the same NICU.
"My pregnancy was going amazing until literally it crashed and burned," Lovell said. "At 28 weeks, I woke up with an extremely high fever and truly felt like I was dying, and lo and behold I...ended up in the emergency room and then 24 hours [later I] ended up in a coma."
Lovell had been seriously ill with pneumonia back then. In 2018, she decided to give back to the doctors and nurses she says provided amazing medical care.
"When I first thought of this, I approached Honor Health," Lovell explained. "I said, 'I think I can raise $5,000, maybe get 50 people to attend," and that first year, I had 160 attendees attend. We raised about $23,000 and the following year, word got out in the community about the event. It doubled in size, it sold out in two weeks -- and we raised $47,000."
Last year, the NICU used the money to buy an EEG machine, which measures electrical activity in the brain - something they use for babies suffering from seizures.
"This year it was definitely different, we were trying to figure out if we should do it because of COVID obviously," said neonatologist Matthew Abrams. "You can't have a big social outing and a big social fundraiser, but at the end of the day, what mattered most is that there are still babies being born in the NICU and the need is bigger than ever."
This year, the annual High Tea NICU fundraiser will be held virtually - another opportunity to make a difference and to thank the doctors and nurses that save lives every day.
I developed such an appreciation and respect for the doctors and nurses at Honor Health Shea, they were the ones keeping these two alive day in and day out -- and they're the reason I have ten month old healthy, busy twins right now," Heidt said.
The High Tea fundraiser is on Sept. 15 from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
More about the event: https://aesaz.co/elp/nicu2020