WHO and WHEN:
Overland Park Regional Medical Center Level III NICU 5 - 7 p.m.
Research Medical Center Level III NICU 5 - 7 p.m.
Centerpoint Medical Center Level III NICU 5 - 7 p.m.
Second Annual HCA Midwest Health NICU Thanksgiving Dinner sponsored by the Missouri Mavericks and hosted and served by James Arkell and Sarah Hunt Arkell and more than 50 former NICU families who had babies in HCA Midwest Health NICUs to more than 100 families currently with critically ill babies in the NICUs. The Mavericks’ official team mascot, MAC, will also attend.
Overland Park Regional Medical Center, 10500 Quivira Road, Overland Park, Kan. 66215
Research Medical Center, 2316 E. Meyer Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64132
Centerpoint Medical Center, 19600 E. 39th St., Independence, Mo. 64057
(FOR INTERVIEWS, PLEASE GO TO FRONT LOBBY OF EACH HOSPITAL FOR ESCORT TO WHERE MEAL IS SERVED)
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, is World Prematurity Day—a time to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families worldwide. Each year approximately 15 million babies are born preterm, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born worldwide. November is also Prematurity Awareness Month and, according to March of Dimes, after decades of increases, the rate of premature birth in the United States has now been on a steady decline for the last several years. This decline—to 9.6 percent today—has saved thousands of babies from being born too soon and facing health issues.
The NICU Thanksgiving event was founded by Overland Park Regional’s NICU Parents, Adam and Laura Liebergen eight years ago when their son, George, was in the NICU. Without their dedication and passion for others, the HCA Midwest Health NICU Thanksgiving tradition would not have been possible.
When babies are born with critical healthcare needs, the compassionate and caring staffs of HCA Midwest Health’s NICUs jump into action, taking care of the newborns and their families. As a result of the life-changing experience, many parents of NICU graduates have a new perspective on gratitude. This year, former NICU families—also known as "NICU Family Graduates"— will provide side dishes, host and serve food to families keeping vigil over their babies currently in the NICU.
This includes James Arkell and Sarah Hunt Arkell—whose son, Michael, spent five weeks in the Overland Park Regional Medical Center Level III NICU. The Missouri Mavericks, owned by the Lamar Hunt Jr. family, is sponsoring the event, along with Plowboys BBQ. The Circle of Hope Foundation will provide décor and other items. Donutology is donating its signature donuts for the event.
“Sarah and I lead a life with intentional gratitude and the NICU experience heightened that,” Arkell says. “We’ve never been to a place so frequently in such a short period and had such positive and loving experiences every time, from housekeeping to the compassionate nurses and physicians. Though we were anxious to leave with a healthy baby, once it was time to go home with Michael it proved difficult—we built relationships we could only imagine, making lifelong friends. It’s important for us to pay it forward this year for the families going through the difficult journey. And we can’t think of a better day to do it, a week before Thanksgiving, on World Prematurity Day.”
“On behalf of the Missouri Mavericks team and staff, I’m pleased that we can assist with providing comfort again this holiday season, and especially on World Prematurity Day,” says Mavericks owner, Lamar Hunt Jr. “HCA Midwest’s Overland Park Regional Medical Center’s NICU was there for our family and we are honored to recognize their efforts—along with Centerpoint Medical Center and Research Medical Center’s NICUs.”
“HCA Midwest Health NICUs have the best and brightest staff and physicians experts in the region,” says Katie Gonzalez, Circle of Hope Founding Member. “These physicians and nurses take fragile, sick babies and nurture and nourish them as if they are their own—something I’ve seen firsthand as a NICU graduate mom. It’s a stressful time for families and this Thanksgiving event is one way that families, such as the Arkells can help and give hope to families going through the difficult journey. It’s a very heartwarming, emotional event for everyone and we’re proud that our NICU Parent Organization can give back. This year we can impact even more families with the three NICUs coming together to each host their own dinner.”