Galilee Medical Center recently welcomed back former Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients and their families for a special reunion with the doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff members who cared for them.
It was an opportunity for staff, parents and children to reconnect and see each child's growth and development progress. It was a fun-filled time with arts and crafts activities, face-painting, medical clowning with Yigal Shriker, games, and laughter.
 The reunion was held close to the beginning of the International Kangaroo Challenge which will take place during the first two weeks of May for the second year at Galilee Medical Center.
The Kangaroo Challenge is to encourage the practice of ‘kangaroo care,’ a method of holding a baby upright against their parents or a relative's bare chest, skin-to-skin and it empowers parents and other family members to take on a larger role in their preemies’ development.

It brings us great joy to see so many former patients and their families happy and healthy,” said Dr. Vered Fleisher Sheffer; Neonatologist and Director of the NICU at Galilee Medical Center.

Here are just several of the heartwarming reactions at the celebratory reunion: Ilanit Yahya of Nahariya came with her children Eliav (now 5) and Osher (2), both born in the 29th week. "Eliav was born weighing 780 grams and spent three months in the NICU, Osher weighed 870 grams at birth and spent about two months in the NICU," she said. "During both times, we had an extraordinary connection with the medical team; they really became part of our family.  We're very excited to return here, with Eliav and Osher perfectly healthy."
Nadia Katsav from Shlomi tells how she was rushed to Galilee Medical Center with her daughter Michal (7.5), who was born at home weighing 819 grams in a critical condition, and the doctors initially gave her a slim chance of survival. "Michal spent 74 days in the NICU. The doctors and nurses saved her life. Without them, and their tender loving professional care, she would not be here today, healthy and well."
Julia Trostianitzer of Nahariya, who also attended the reunion, shared a similar story about the special care at the NICU.
 Just four months ago she gave birth to a second set of twins, Tommy and Liam, at Galilee Medical Center. Her first set of twins Ronny and Nicole were born weighing 704 grams and 692 grams respectively.
  "With Tommy and Liam it was a corrective experience for us, because they were born in the 34th week and were much bigger, though premature, all four are completely healthy and we're thankful for that and the care at Galilee Medical Center." 

Photo credit: Paulina Yulin