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Newborn Hope celebrates 50 years of helping families impacted by premature birth

Posted at 6:42 PM, Nov 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 20:42:05-05

COLORADO — This year Newborn Hope is celebrating its 50th anniversary of supporting Colorado families impacted by premature birth.

The statewide nonprofit organization helps fund programs through state and federal grants, provides prenatal education, and gives financial support directly to families with premature babies. Lindsay Pecheck, the Executive Director, said the organization is built upon its dedicated volunteers and has served families in 27 different counties across the state.

"About 10% of babies in Colorado are born premature, so there is a need to support these families," she said.

Newborn Hope was founded by Zoya Dickens Miller in 1973 after her friend lost her premature baby with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Since its creation, Newborn Hope has provided more than $5 million in community grants. In the past 50 years, there have also been major advancements in technology helping cut down the mortality rate of premature babies.

Dr. Robert Kiley, Medical Director of the NICU at Children's Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs, said 50 years ago the survival rate of infants born at less than 28 weeks was nearly 0%. Now, he said infants born at 25 weeks have a survival rate approaching 100% due to improvements in care.

Along the way, Newborn Hope has helped pay for the necessary equipment upgrades at multiple medical centers.

"That's really revolutionized the field and allowed us to successfully resuscitate smaller and smaller and smaller babies," said Dr. Kiley. "Newborn Hope has been, you know, vital to the success of caring for preterm babies."

In 2020 Newborn Hope created the Preemie Family Assistance Fund (PFAF) which helps families pay for therapies, equipment, transportation to hospitals and appointments, and additional expenses that can become a burden for parents after a premature delivery.

"They're just so worried about their babies, so concerned about what's happening here at the NICU that were able just to provide a little bit of relief for these families," said Pecheck.

Pecheck said 70% of PFAF recipients have an annual income of less than $40,000. She said right now Newborn Hope is only able to help 50% of the applicants due to a need for more funding. She said they rely heavily on their fundraising events like November Noel in Colorado Springs and Sips at Sunset in Pueblo.

Newborn Hope will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary during this year's November Noel on Friday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Broadmoor International Center. The festivities will include live entertainment, a cocktail reception, a silent auction, and dinner. The money raised will benefit its organizational programs including the Preemie Family Assistance Fund.
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