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Gary Morin, left, and Tommy Littlehale, both from Carpentry, hang photos on the renovated alumni wall in BWH’s NICU.
On a wall in BWH’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hang dozens of photos of children of all ages, dancing, playing sports and smiling in school pictures and holiday cards. Though by all appearances it is simply a wall of photos, to families and children who have spent time in the NICU, and to those who work in the unit, it means so much more.
“These photos are an inspiration to families that are currently experiencing a NICU stay,” said Paul Hughes, administrator for the Department of Newborn Medicine. “All day long, I see families looking at the photo wall. It gives them hope. During the NICU journey, it’s hard to imagine that a baby who is born so sick or so early could ever be well.”
The alumni wall, as it is known in the NICU, recently underwent a much-needed renovation. Photos sent in over the years were re-matted in matching frames and hung in a more organized manner. Tommy Littlehale and Gary Morin from Carpentry hung the photos, with guidance from NICU Nursing Director Marianne Cummings, MSN, RN, Assistant Nursing Director Julianne Mazzawi, MS, RN, Operations Manager Rachel Hall and Michelle Rheaume of Development.
“Now they are beautifully organized and displayed,” Hughes said.
Hughes adds that the photos are also uplifting to NICU staff.
“It is wonderful for them to see how the patients that they cared for are now developing, and it is an honor for the staff to know that they are remembered as a part of so many family histories,” he said.
In addition to providing inspiration to current NICU families, the wall of photos also honors the children and families who spent time in the NICU.
“These children and families have been through an emotional and difficult journey,” said Hughes. “The fact that families will send photos to us one, five, even 10 or 20 years later really shows how strong their connection is to BWH’s NICU.”