A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of returning to my alma mater, the University of Virginia (UVA), to meet the generous couple bringing compassion and comfort to 1,000 babies in UVA Health’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Tania and James Kitchen, whose son Jonah lost his life after four days in the UVA NICU, decided to donate 1,000 of our specially designed NICU preemie bodysuits so that when a child is born and needs critical care, they don’t need to lie unclothed while hooked up to the tubes, wires, and monitors they need to be healthy.
Instead, they can start their lives wrapped in warmth and comfort, and parents can see their babies as, well,babies and not patients.
Our bodysuits are designed with specialized openings to accommodate tubes, wires, and monitors. They unwrap to lie flat for doctors’ and nurses’ easy access. They cover babies’ hands to prevent scratching. But more than anything, they give NICU babies a better start than is typical of babies born in immediate need of critical care.
That’s why it was so special for me to stand beside the Kitchen family and several of the amazing NICU nurses from UVA who spend their days caring for and healing our most vulnerable newborns. Behind every product we make, every collection we launch, and every idea we have are the people touched by healthcare – the clinicians providing care, the patients aspiring to heal and the families who supply endless love and support to help them do so.
Our bodysuits capture that story – initially designed with March of Dimes, a nonprofit fighting for the health of all moms and babies, these outfits can help restore joy and celebration to an incredibly challenging time for babies and their families. It’s scary to see your newest family member off to a tough start, and the sight of your tiny baby connected tovital medical lines and machinery can only add to that emotional stress.
At Care+Wear, we want to change that. We strive to reintroduce humanity and compassion to a hospital environment that often lacks it; to do so, we team up with the people – the patients, clinicians, and designers – who inspire us. We couldn’t have created the bodysuits without the insight of NICU nurses who know what access is required to continue providing babies quality healthcare, and we couldn’t have helped bring 1,000 babies healthwear that cares if it weren’t for the generosity of the Kitchen family.
We’ll only change the way the world looks at and feels about healthcare by working together, leaning on one another, learning from each other, and relentlessly encouraging innovative and creative solutions. When we do that, we can make healthcare and healing comfortable, empowering, and joyous. I’m so proud to be a part of that change, and so humbled by the Kitchen family and the UVA NICU’s support and partnership on that road to a more human healthcare experience.