Prematurity Awareness Month: Honoring Norah Marie Wilson
Premature births take many journeys that are highlighted during Prematurity Awareness Month. While thousands of NICU babies successfully transition home to their families every year, it’s important to honor the little ones lost during their hospital stay. This year we highlight the Norah Foundation’s Always Together project; their team, in partnership with AngelEye Health, and the effort that brought the first NICU cameras to Northern California. AngelEye Health is shining a spotlight on the NICU journey of Candace Wilson and her husband, Rich, who experienced firsthand the emotional rollercoaster of a NICU stay when their newborn daughter, Norah, became severely ill following her birth.
Norah Marie Wilson was born in November 2015. After visiting three different hospitals, undergoing surgery to repair a hole in her stomach, receiving a plethora of blood products, and perplexing the minds of her talented medical team, Norah went to heaven in the loving arms of her mom and dad. Candace and Rich’s immediate family surrounded them during the most difficult day of their lives, an experience that continues to be treasured by those who were able to be there.
The NICU experience was an agonizing one for Norah’s family; although her life here on Earth was short, it was meaningful. In honor of Norah and all the NICU babies who did not have an opportunity to continue their journey home, Candance and Rich launched the Norah Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on spreading love and restoring hope in the lives of children and families facing health-related hardships. Central to the Foundation’s mission is its commitment to providing comfort and support for those impacted by, in many instances, an unexpected hospital stay, which can be emotionally taxing for everyone involved.
Norah’s Legacy – NICU Cameras for Other Families
When reflecting on their own NICU experience, one of the things Candace and Rich wished they had during her stay was a video monitor so they could see her even when they had to be away from the hospital. As such, one initiative that is especially close to the Wilson’s heart is working to install Norah Cams in hospital NICUs. Through the Foundation’s Always Together project, their team, in partnership with AngelEye Health, brought the first NICU cameras to Northern California. Since 2018 they have continued their mission to raise enough funds to pilot and eventually install a secure camera on all 60 beds in the Sutter Medical Center NICU. The goal was finally reached in early 2022 and remains the largest such initiative in the state.
Since then, and in memory of Norah, the Foundation continues to champion efforts to install NICU engagement tools in other area NICUs, elevating family engagement and fostering vital connections during these difficult stays. Six years on, the Wilson’s love for Norah remains stronger than ever – as is their dedication through the Norah Foundation to guarantee that every family can always be together with their child, even when life requires them to be apart.
To learn more about the Norah Foundation mission and how you can support efforts to elevate NICU family bonding and care team communication and care collaboration, please visit: https://www.thenorahfoundation.org/donations
To learn more about Prematurity Awareness Month and the scope of premature birth in America, please visit The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality.