First birthday party a time for giving back

| 29/08/2018
CNS Local Life

NICU and CHF representatives along with families of Adelaide Merren and Nolan Evans at the donation

(CNS Local Life): The parents of Adelaide Merren used the celebration of her first birthday on 26 June as an opportunity to collect donations for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Cayman Islands Hospital and the Cayman Heart Fund (CHF). Mother Jernaye Merren wanted to give back to the NICU after Adelaide spent her first 23 days on the ward and so requested birthday guests make donations instead of buying presents for her daughter.

Among those who donated were Ailian and Sean Evans, parents of baby Nolan, who lost his fight to congenital heart defect (CHD) on 25 January 2018 at seven months and three days old, stated a Health Services Authority press release. Coincidentally, Adelaide and Nolan were both in the NICU at the same time, fighting health difficulties after being born prematurely.

“Nolan was dear to our hearts and through our journeys, our families have become close friends. In honour of Nolan and his family, we agreed to share the donations with the Cayman Heart Fund and look forward to supporting the Evans and other heart families in the future,” said Jernaye Merren.

Approximately $650 worth of gifts were donated to the NICU and $1,360 given to CHF in memory and honour of Nolan.

Since Nolan’s death his parents have raised more than $20,000 to go towards children with congenital heart defect, which means those born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels. The Evans family said of the recent donation, “To say we are extremely grateful to precious little Adelaide’s family is an understatement. This was such an amazing gesture.

“The funds raised for both the NICU and CHF are so very important for the critical health care of local newborn babies. This effort and other successful fundraising efforts such as June’s KIDFEST (now planned to be an annual event) will help CHD babies and their families in Cayman as well as help to raise CHD awareness locally.”

CHF coordinator Colleen Mellott thanked all the friends and family members that donated gifts and money in lieu of presents to Adelaide.

“We are most grateful to the family for organising this very generous donation and also for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease and congenital heart defect,” she said, explaining that the funds will go towards the Hart 4 Hearts programme, the paediatric arm of the CHF, which raises public awareness and provides financial assistance to families in Cayman for medical care of their children born with CHD.

Registered neonatal nurse Kerry Bennett-Reed added that the donation will benefit other babies in the NICU similar to Adelaide and Nolan. “We are very grateful to Adelaide’s family for the generous donation. Gifts like these make NICU life just a little more comfortable for our tiny babies and it is heartwarming to think that the memories of baby Adelaide’s stay in NICU provoked such a lovely idea. Also, a big thank you to Adelaide’s family and friends who gave so generously as they celebrated her first birthday.”

For more information on CHF or the Hart 4 Hearts programme, call 916-6324 or email CHF


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Category: Community, Donations, Fundraiser, Medical and Health

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