Phoebe hosts "graduation party" for NICU patients

Phoebe hosts "graduation party" for NICU patients
Sabrina Harris, Former NICU Patient (Source:WALB)
Sabrina Harris, Former NICU Patient (Source:WALB)
Children got to enjoy treats and games (Source:WALB)
Children got to enjoy treats and games (Source:WALB)
Harris was in NICU for three months (Source:WALB)
Harris was in NICU for three months (Source:WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some of Phoebe Putney Hospital's youngest patients received a special celebration Sunday and their parents received some hope as well.

"During their time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it's such a hopeless time. It's a scary time for them," Children's Miracle Network Coordinator Becca Miller said.

Families from across South Georgia came together at Chehaw's Creekside Center for a special graduation party sponsored by Aflac.

"Just to celebrate that they are done with the NICU, because that is such a big deal," Miller said.

The party included sweets and games. It also allowed nurses and physicians to reunite with former patients.

"And every time that I meet with nurses who are in NICU, they say the best part about their job is when they get to see these families who have sat by their children's bedsides," Miller said.

The parents also got to hear from 20-year-old Sabrina Harris who spent nearly three months in NICU.

"I have Cerebral Palsy. I was born with it. I was born three months early," Harris said.

Harris faced a number of challenges.

"I had to wear a lot of braces. I had a walker. I didn't walk until I was four," Harris added.

And she admits that it's been a long road. Her latest surgery happened just four years ago.

"They rotated my hips, so that they were straight. And cut my femurs and lengthened my hamstrings," Harris said.

But Harris never let conditions bring her down. Just this week, she graduated with an Associate's Degree in Biology from Albany State University.

"She's just a perfect example to give these families some inspiration and hope," Miller said.

Hope that these parents need for the road ahead.

"A lot of these families, once they get out of NICU, they have a very long journey ahead of them as well," Miller said.

This was the first graduation party in several years.

Organizers were happy to bring it back and plan to do it again next year.

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