"A person's a person no matter how small" Dr. Seuss
My name is Maddie and NICU Cheer is my passion project that came about after my husband Aaron and I had a premature baby in 2016 and we saw a need for something that could brighten a NICU parent’s day.
We have two wonderful kids. Lillian is our rainbow baby who was born full term in 2014 + Ashton who was born prematurely at 30 weeks in 2016. They are the light of our lives. Lily is in school now and Ashton is attending a specialist daycare where he's thriving. He still has ongoing hospital and specialist visits with multiple departments across two hospitals as we strive to get a diagnosis for his extreme fatigue, and checks ups on his laryngomalacia, subglottic stenosis, brain bleeds, innocent heart murmur and more. He is so happy despite it all and cracks us up daily with his mischievous ways.
My wonderfully supportive husband Aaron is a news photographer and we are so lucky to have him. It is such a cliché, but he truly is our rock and none of this would be possible without him. In my life pre-children I worked as a lawyer and it was always my honour to work for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Queensland and Victoria, but after Ashton’s birth his appointments kept me too busy for the first 3.5 years to return to traditional work, so I was able to pour all of my energy into NICU Cheer and now it has been become not only my passion, but my full-time role - albeit for no pay. It's super cheesy, but I really just do feel like it is mu calling and I couldn't love bringing cheer to other NICU families any more. The long term plan is to hopefully one day secure funding for
"Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life!"
To bring some cheer on special days for parents of premature/sick babies in the NICU + Special Care Nursery & to let them know they're
not alone on this journey.
Maddie the NICU Cheer Founder hand drew our logo based on a picture of Ashton in the NICU.
Future plans include bringing more cheer on more days and starting deliveries for Mother's Day & Father's Day in 2020 + spreading the cheer to more hospitals in more states/territories.
Special days like Christmas can be a tough time of year for some and that is particularly so for families who have a baby or babies in a NICU. Our first year after having Ashton I remember thinking about all the parents in the NICU over Christmas and wishing I could let them know they’re not alone on this journey - and so the idea for NICU Cheer was born.
The following year in 2017 I started my NICU Cheer campaign putting out the call for donations of goods. At first I was just hoping for enough to fill a hamper to go in the parent’s break out room, but I received so many wonderful donations from family, friends, strangers and obliging companies that I was able to put together 61 gift bags (one for every cot at the Mercy NICU/SCN) as well as giant hampers for the parent and staff rooms.
By 2018 we had streamlined the collection process and refined what goes into the bags too. The 2019 bags were the best yet as we were fortunate enough to receive some lovely corporate donations and we delivered 188 bags to 3 major NICUs that Christmas.
In 2020 we were to do our first ever Mother's Day delivery, but Covid-19 had other plans.. stay tuned for when our next delivery will be. Hoping for Father's Day or failing that we will do our annual Christmas Day delivery - I will do everything I can in my power to make that happen.
Why NICU Cheer
Delivering these little bags of treats is our way of giving back to the hospital and the staff who saved our son and also our way to pay it forward and hopefully bring some cheer to others who are where we have been. We know what it's like to be them and so if we can bring even a little joy or cheer up one parent each year we have accomplished our mission.
If you donate to NICU Cheer or have helped us in any way we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for enabling us to spread some cheer.
In 2019 we tripled our recipient hospitals to delivery gifts and hampers to three of Mebourne's major NICUs, in the future we hope to spread NICU Cheer to even more hospitals and after Covid-19 restrictions lift to start doing our first ever Mother’s + Father’s Day deliveries too....watch this space!
Love + big hugs
Founder NICU Cheer
Spread the Cheer
Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart!
Winnie The Pooh by A.A.Milne