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Updated: Saturday, 07 Aug 2010, 2:53 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 07 Aug 2010, 12:51 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Neonatal intensive care units at Lutheran and St. Joseph hospitals again reunited with the newborns they once helped in Franke Park Saturday.
Children who spent time in the NICU at either Lutheran or St. Joe and their families were invited to celebrate and reconnect with caregivers and other graduates on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the side yard of Foellinger Theatre on Sherman Boulevard in Fort Wayne.
Officials from Lutheran Health Network said the reunions are always a much appreciated opportunity for nurses, physicians and families to reunite and see the progress of children who were at one time in need of the critical care available through the NICU.
For us nurses, its just so wonderful to see the children again, to see how the Lord has just blessed them. I think all of our staff are really excited about being able to see the graduates today and be able to minister to these families. It was just a physical, spiritual, emotional time in their life when they needed that extra help. We're all just so appreciative to be able to be used in that way,” said Lutheran Hospital neonatal nurse, Irene Wagley.
Organizers of this annual party have traditionally welcomed more than 750 guests back to the park.
"With Lutheran being a center for neonatology, we have kids here today coming back from all over northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio because they were either preemie or babies that were sick at some point in their newborn life. They are here to just celebrate the fact that life is going well. Some of them will be here today in wheelchairs, some with feeding tubes or on oxygen, but they're here today because there is a lot of camaraderie of parents who were in the unit at the same time,” said Wagley.
Activities this year included a moonwalk, special animal visits provided by volunteers from the
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, kiddie games, snacks and free passes to the zoo.