The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is where babies fight for their lives and where parents face their worst nightmares.
Corey Yarrow helps run the Kansas chapter of Project Sweet Peas which is an organization that strives to make the experience as happy as it can be.
“It’s a really hard place to be and it’s a place that you usually don’t expect to be,” Yarrow said.
Project Sweet Peas gives parents care packages filled with all sorts of goodies, like gifts during the holidays and even Halloween costumes for the babies.
Yarrow said they aim to bring a little bit of normalcy into the rooms.
When a baby’s prognosis takes a tragic turn, Project Sweet Peas gives the families memory boxes filled with things like handkerchiefs, a handprint kit and a locket.
“Half stays with the baby and then half stays with the parents,” she said.
It’s a box Corey not only gives parents, last year she received one herself.
Her son Luke was born early at 30 weeks with Hydrocephalus and Cerebral Palsy and spent 105 days in local NICU’s in Topeka and Kansas City.
Luke eventually went home and thrived, but when he turned five, he caught the flu.
“It turned into pneumonia, and it turned into RSV. It was just too much for him to fight, he was tired,” Yarrow said.
Through her grief and loss, she found a new purpose.
“I wish more than anything that he was still here, but doing stuff like this kind of helps me remember him and keep him with me,” she said. “If I can help one family not feel alone, and not feel overwhelmed, then I can go to sleep happy.”
The Kansas chapter of Project Sweet Peas is always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested, Corey recommends sending a message to their Facebook page by clicking here.
If you would like to donate to Project Sweet Peas, click here.