Kelly Musick’s family is choosing to do its virtual Walk for Babies in the courtyard at Akron Children’s Hospital.
That’s not only in the shadows of the NICU where Jacob and Benjamin Musick spent their first several weeks, but it’s also where their mother works as a nurse.
The Musicks are this year’s Walk for Babies featured family. Due to COVID-19 and for the safety of all participants, individuals and teams will walk 1 mile on Sunday, Oct. 4 in a socially distanced location of their choice.
Jacob and Benjamin’s story
Kelly is the clinical coordinator in the Akron Children’s NICU. In May 2018 she and her husband Jeff learned they were having twins.
“I had a weird gut feeling we might end up here,” Kelly said.
Sure enough, she was right. Jacob and Benjamin were born 10 weeks early weighing just over 2 pounds each.
“It was a pretty traumatic day because I knew how small they were,” she said. “Thankfully I was able to get to that 30-week mark, which is crucial for their development.
Kelly went to work as usual that day but felt something was off. She was admitted to Summa Hospital for two days and then rushed to labor and delivery.
Jacob was born first and he was doing pretty well, Kelly said. Benjamin had to be intubated, a sight Kelly experienced many times in her line of work.
“I had to prepare my family for what they’d see,” she said.
From Halloween to Christmas
After 3 days at Summa, the twins were transferred to Kelly’s “home turf” at the Akron Children’s NICU.
“It was Halloween and the nurses had costumes ready and the room all decked out for me,” Kelly said. “It really comforted us and made us feel loved and at home.”
And there they stayed and were cared for until Christmas morning when they were released to go home.
“They’re almost 2 now and they have no underlying health conditions,” Kelly reported. “They’re thriving and doing well.”
While Kelly has a first-hand view every day of the work that is done inside the NICU at Akron Children’s, she said being this year’s featured family allows her the platform to spotlight the unit’s work to others.
“We not only take care of the babies – some as little as 1 pound to bigger babies that are very sick – but we’re also a support system for the parents,” Kelly said. “We see these patients for up to over a year and during that time we grow huge bonds with the babies and their parents. And sometimes for babies whose parents are not able to be there as often, we’re these babies’ families as well.”
All funds raised stay local
Last year’s event raised nearly $130,000 with 1,686 walkers. This year, organizers are shooting for even more.
All funds raised are donated to Akron Children’s Hospital NICU. Last year, the NICU purchased several specialized camera systems to allow parents to log in remotely and see their babies in their isolettes. The goal this year is to purchase more cameras plus a new ventilator.
Can’t participate but would still like to donate? Click here to make a general donation to the Akron Children’s NICU.