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Regina family gives back to the NICU with Christmas cards
Six-year-olds Emmett and Eldon Friesen have been busy making Christmas cards to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Regina General Hospital.
The family gives back to the unit because when the twin boys were born, they spent 28 days in the unit.
"At 32 weeks they were born and they were just over three pounds each and they spent 28 days in the NICU," Jamie Friesen, Emmett and Eldon’s mom said.
When parents Jamie and Nathan Friesen found out they were pregnant with twins, they were told it would be a high risk pregnancy and the boys would need to be in the NICU after birth. The family said they received excellent care in the unit.
"It’s definitely scary the first time you leave your kids alone at the hospital but they reassure you and make you feel right at home and know that everything is going to be okay," Nathan said.
Jamie said it was a stressful experience at times, but the staff in the unit reassured them often that everything would be fine.
"The people there are just amazing and technology is fabulous and you just know that they're getting everything they need," she said.
Jamie and Nathan discovered it would have cost about $95,000 for the boys to stay in the unit for 28 days. Together as a family they set a goal to fundraise that amount of money and it give it back to the unit that gave them so much. In the last five years, the family has raised around $9,000 for the NICU.
"We know that the NICU is going to be needed for years to come and we benefitted from it so we want to show them that fundraising and giving back to that service and we know that is essential for this community and it was essential for us," Nathan said.
The NICU heavily relies on donations from the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and the Z99 Radiothon to get new equipment for the unit.
"Without that money coming in, we would have older equipment and there's equipment we wouldn’t even have at all,” said Tom Sorensen with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Regina General Hospital. “It’s impossible to run the unit without certain things but you can get a cheaper version that doesn’t work as well."