Supported by our community – care for the tiniest babies

“No one knows what NICU is until you need NICU. NICU makes families and without them we wouldn’t have the family we have now,” Nicole and Shannon Fleming said.

In 2018, Nicole and Shannon’s twin daughters Eloise and Isla were cared for in the Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Heartbreakingly, Isla passed away at four weeks of age following surgery in Melbourne.

The care and support Nicole, Shannon and their daughters received while in NICU inspired the amazing couple to raise funds to support families whose babies require special care.

In June 2019, they held a fundraising dinner ‘Collaboration for a Cause’ where close to $60,000 was raised for NICU thanks to the generosity of the Fleming’s friends, a group of South Australia’s top chefs and food and wine businesses.

“This has been part of our healing journey,” Nicole said.

“We are both so super proud and happy of what we have been able to do,” Shannon said.

“We had our experience in NICU and we have worked really hard to help others going through that journey too. It is nice we are able support families because we understand what they are going through.”

Photo of a family in WCH intensive care unit.

The Fleming family. This photo was taken by a NICU nurse and is a treasured possession for the family.

The Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation has worked closely with NICU staff to see the donation fund the unit’s priority needs and wish list.

Their impact

We are delighted to announce the Fleming’s donation has enabled a new support program – ‘Baby Talk’, facility upgrades with the refurbishment of the parenting unit and lockers for parents’ personal items, and equipment including a UV mobile device sanitiser, phototherapy units, breast pumps and overhead heaters.

Angela Cavallaro, one of the NICU nurses who cared for Eloise, said the Flemings are a family you remember.

“There are some people you just don’t forget, and the Flemings are such a beautiful family. They have worked so hard in raising the money and what they have been able to achieve is creating Isla’s legacy,” Angela said.

WCH-baby-talk

Simon with his daughter Torvi using Baby Talk. They are one of the families the Fleming’s donation will benefit.

Angela said the program, equipment and upgrades will make an impact on all babies and families who come through NICU and the Special Care Baby Unit with a focus on ensuring babies are safe, reducing the chance of infection being brought into the units and families are comfortable and supported.

Baby Talk encapsulates all of this.

Thanks to the Fleming’s donation, iPads were purchased for the initiative which uses video conference technology to allow parents and family members to call into see their baby when they can’t physically be in the Hospital due to illness, visitor restrictions (like we’re experiencing with COVID-19) or being a long distance from the Hospital.

Baby Talk creates many benefits including allowing siblings to start connecting with their baby brother or sister, reducing the stress and anxiety many parents feel while their newborn is receiving special medical care, and decreasing the risk of infection coming into the units if family members are sick.

“I think everything has to have a logo,” Angela laughed. “And for Baby Talk I thought the perfect logo was koalas. The koala became a good luck charm for Nicole, every time she saw one on their way into the Hospital, she would tell me ‘today is going to be an OK day’.”

Thanking their incredible community

“We thank everyone who made Collaboration for a Cause possible,” Shannon said.

“Lot 100 for the venue, and Mismatch Brewing, Hills Cider Company, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Ngeringa Vineywards, BK Wines, Samtas Seafood, Ochota Barrells, Gentle Folk, Vinteloper and Ashton Valley Fresh for donating produce and auction items.

“The staff who donated their time for the night and the chefs – Scott Huggins from Magill Estate, Kane Pollard from Topiary, Oliver Edwards from The Summertown Aristologist and Imogen Czulowski from Africola.

“Thank you to the 140 people who came to the dinner, purchased auction items and donated.”

Nicole and Shannon are hoping to hold another Collaboration for a Cause dinner later this year if COVID-19 restrictions allow.

If you are passionate about giving back to your Hospital, just like the Flemings, contact our Community Fundraising team to chat!

 

Chefs and dining room set-up at Lot 100.

The chefs and set-up at the Collaboration for a Cause dinner held at Lot 100.

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