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Our son, Brendan was born at 26 weeks and spent 6 months in the NICU at St. Barnabas Medical Center. We will be participating in the 16th Annual Miracle Walk to support the NICU in purchasing advanced medical equipment and state-of-the-art medical devices and technology to help future NICU babies. We would be very grateful for any support you can give “Team Brendan” in reaching our fundraising goal.In November of 2013, with 3 months still to go in the pregnancy, we were told I was in labor and needed to be admitted to the hospital. Almost 17 hours later, Brendan was born at 26 weeks. We were in shock and unprepared for what was to come next.Upon arriving at the NICU, we were met by the most incredibly caring and understanding doctors and nurses. We were told that, although prematurity is somewhat common, delivery at an extremely low gestational age (less than 31 weeks) was not. In addition, our baby, at just 2 lbs, was born with extremely low birth weight and learned that babies who survive with this extreme degree of prematurity are very likely to have serious complications and long-term problems.Our son’s primary doctor, Dr. Sanchez, explained to us that our son was born with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula, which means that his esophagus did not extend from his mouth to his stomach, and that his trachea went from his mouth to his lungs, but also branched off to his stomach. In order to prevent gastric fluids from entering his lungs, surgery would be required immediately to remove the connection (fistula) going between the two organs. During the same surgery, an attempt would also be made to stretch his esophagus and attach it to his stomach so that he can eat. With such a young and small premature newborn, these procedures would be very difficult, but we were assured by his amazing surgeon, Dr. Bergman, that he will do everything in his power. As we looked at our son clutching for his life in an incubator, attached to a ventilator and with countless tubes and wires leading to numerous medical devices and equipment,we held one thought in our mind – he is brave and he will survive.Before the surgery, Dr. Bergman asked us our son’s name, since he generally talks to his patients during his procedures. At just six months into the pregnancy, we hadn’t yet finalized our list of baby names. We wanted to make sure that our son had his name prior to entering the operating room. We named him “Brendan,” which means brave.When Dr. Bergman completed the surgery, he promptly met with us to inform us that Brendan’s procedure went as well as could be expected. He was able to remove the fistula; however, given how delicate the tissues were, stretching and connecting the esophagus and stomach would not have been possible. Our son would require a feeding tube inserted directly into his stomach and incremental dilations of his esophagus as he grows.A long journey was still ahead of us, but we were reassured by the amazingly talented and caring doctors and nurses at the NICU. We knew that they would do everything in their power to help Brendan. And they did. For 6 months (6 months!), Brendan stayed in the NICU. The doctors and nurses communicated with us at every step and helped guide us through the ups and downs that we encountered along the way. They were there for us when Brendan’s lung collapsed, and cheered with us when he began breathing without the support of a ventilator. They were there for us when Brendan needed to be transferred to another hospital for eye surgery to save his vision. They were there for us each time that he needed a blood transfusion. They were there for us when he had to undergo future surgeries. They educated us, calmed our nerves, and gave us strength and reassurance at every setback, and they celebrated every tiny bit of progress that Brendan made. We saw the genuine compassion that they gave to Brendan every single day and every single night; and for this they are forever a part of our family.Although Brendan continues to have some medical concerns and feeding issues, the important thing is that he is here…thanks to the NICU. At almost 4 years of age, Brendan is a happy little boy, talking nonstop, laughing, singing and dancing and loving every moment playing with his brother. He is a true miracle who brings tremendous joy and happiness into our home.Sincerely,Anita & Sujal Patani
Miracles happen every day. The 16th Annual Miracle Walk is a wonderful family fun-filled day, which raises funds in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Barnabas Medical Center
As a level III Regional Perinatal Center, the NICU offers the latest treatments and modalities in the field to provide the most advanced care for more than 1,100 premature and ill newborns each year. Our NICU has one of the best infant survival rates among neonatal intensive care units in the nation.
On behalf of the entire NICU family and the 1,100 babies we care for annually, I hope you can support me and my team for this year's walk. Your commitment and generosity help to guarantee a strong future for the NICU and Saint Barnabas Medical Center.
You can walk with me on October 8th or donate to my team. Your support will matter to so many people. Please join me today!
For questions please call Elizabeth Bennett at Saint Barnabas Medical Center at 973-322-4305 or email email@example.com. To make a donation offline- please mail checks, made out to Saint Barnabas Medical Center, to Miracle Walk, 95 Old Short Hills Rd., West Orange, NJ 07052
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