STANFORD, Calif. -- 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.”
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 Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its core, is the largest Bay Area health care enterprise exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Long recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best, we are a leader in world-class, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric specialty, with care ranging from the routine to rare, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Together with our Stanford Medicine physicians, nurses, and staff, we can be accessed through partnerships, collaborations, outreach, specialty clinics and primary care practices at more than 60 locations in Northern California and 100 locations in the U.S. western region. As a non-profit, we are committed to supporting our community – from caring for uninsured or underinsured kids, homeless teens and pregnant moms, to helping re-establish school nurse positions in local schools. Learn more at stanfordchildrens.org and on our Healthier, Happy Lives blog. You can also discover how we are Building the Hospital of the Future. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.