St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center last month received 2,500 handmade caps for the tiny babies treated in its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), at 350 W. Thomas Road.
A team from Cigna HealthCare knitted and crocheted the caps as part of a March of Dimes campaign and presented them to families whose babies were being treated in St. Joseph’s NICU. This was one of the largest donations of its kind for the unit.
“Cigna’s donation is a true act of human kindness,” said Julie Ward, BSN, vice president of Nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “These tiny babies need the hats to help them stay warm so that all of the calories they consume can be used to help them grow. The hats also represent the gift of caring—a treasure that helps the parents find a small comfort in a difficult time.”
The volunteer knitters provided a variety of sizes and styles of baby caps, each with a personal touch, so that the NICU can provide babies with personalized caps as they grow and flourish.
“My greatest drive for this project is the babies and the excellent care they get in the NICU,” said Cheryl McAbee, contract senior analyst with Cigna Group Insurance, and one of the ladies on the knitting team. “I personally got involved because of the excellent care my grandson received at another hospital and wanted to give back. It doesn’t matter where they are, but the love and care that they receive.”
Each year, St. Joseph’s NICU is the first home for nearly 600 ill and premature newborns. Often weighing less than a pound, these babies can stay in the unit for weeks and even months. These handmade caps not only help sick and premature babies maintain their body heat, which is essential to their development, but they also are an act of kindness that provides families with a tangible treasure and a sense of normalcy.
Cigna is a national sponsor of March of Dimes, an organization which helps fight preterm birth. A group of dedicated individuals at Cigna in Phoenix made the 2,500 caps, mostly over the eight weeks of their recent March of Dimes campaign.