STANFORD, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Nurse Roberta Harryman -- co-chair and Grad Party guru -- along with nurse Barbara Boyington, has been taking care of NICU preemies for more than 30 years. She said Sunday's party holds a special spot in her heart. “It’s so rewarding for me to come to this party every fall and see so many of the children I cared for, who have now grown up and are bringing such joy to their parents and to the world,” Harryman said. "It's really an extraordinary day.”
“But it's not just an afternoon of fun”
With the days counting down to Sunday’s NICU event, the guest list is growing. Some years the Grad Party is global, and this year, families are expected from throughout the U.S. western region. There's plenty of entertainment lined up for this weekend, including a magician, a comedian, Violet the Clown, fingernail painting, a petting zoo, pet therapy courtesy of Semper the dog -- and of course, plenty of yummy treats.
"But it's not just an afternoon of fun," Harryman said. "It's really an afternoon of thanks for both the staff and families. You see families from all walks of life bond with one another." And it won't be just babies, children and teens. Some of the grads are now adults with their own babies.
"It's a reunion that means so much to everyone," said William Benitz, MD, chief of neonatology and leader of a neonatology team ranked in America’s Top 10 for providing world-class care for approximately 1200 of the more than 4500 babies born at Packard Children's each year.
"The emotional rollercoaster these families endured in the first days and weeks of their child's life can be overwhelming,” added Benitz, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine. “But being with others who have been through the same experience creates a bond that will connect them forever."
About Packard Children’s Hospital
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford is an internationally recognized 311-bed hospital and leading regional medical network providing a full complement of services for the health of children and expectant mothers. Together, our world-class Stanford Medicine doctors, nurses and staff deliver innovative, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric specialty. Packard Children’s is annually ranked as one of the nation’s finest by U.S. News & World Report and the only Northern California children’s hospital with specialty programs ranked in the U.S. News Top 10. Learn more about our full range of preeminent programs at lpch.org and the Packard Children’s Health Alliance at PCHA.org. Like us on Facebook, watch us on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.