On Sunday, Aug. 26, hundreds of families gathered at in Downers Grove for the 19th annual "NICU Round-Up," an event that reunites former patients of the neonatal intensive care unit with physicians, nurses and hospital staff.
The neonatal intensive care unit at Good Samaritan treats more than 300 premature and critically ill babies each year. For neonatologists like Dr. Mike Fitzgerald, the NICU Round-Up offers a rare opportunity to catch up with hundreds of former patients that spent their first days, weeks and months fighting for their lives.
"This event is really special for us because these patients are like family," Fitzgerald said. "To see these children thriving and excelling in sports and school makes our job worthwhile. That's what it's all about."
Peggy Farrell, manager of the NICU and pediatric unit at Good Samaritan Hospital, said the reunion is often an emotional and therapeutic experience for the families and hospital staff.
"It's rewarding for us to see the kids doing well, but I think it's also a healing experience for the families," Farrell said. "To be able to come back and show us the progress they've made—that they beat the odds—it's an overwhelming, unbelievable thing to experience."
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