Five years ago, our daughter Emmalin passed away. She did the impossible for 74 days of life, and it is that fight in her which brings us here to tackle this seemingly impossible task of our own.
Emmalin spent her life at Inova Childrens in Fairfax, a 108 bed, level four NICU in northern Virginia that takes care of some of the sickest and tiniest babies. Despite its size, it lacks a dedicated, home-feeling setting that allows families to grieve and spend time with their babies when tragedy strikes.
The day Emmalin passed away, we spent the last hours with her in the hospital room where she had spent the last four weeks. There was equipment everywhere, even spilling out into the corridor. We had one chair. Nurses, doctors, and families of other children walked by and looked in at us regularly. It felt like such a sterile and unwelcome place to spend our daughter’s last hours. I spent my first time holding her, wire free, in the same chair I had slept in so many nights before. There was nowhere to cuddle her, no place to welcome our family to meet her for the first time and no place to spend some quiet time with her without the hustle and bustle of the unit right outside our door going about normal life.
Emmalin needed a quiet, homey space. We needed a place to feel like a family without feeling like we were in the hospital. Our family needed a space to come and hold and bond with Emmalin for the first and last time.
Our goal is to raise the funds necessary to provide that space to families at Inova Childrens. A space where needed medical equipment can be hidden. A place with soft lighting, a couch and a more comfortable, intimate feeling. A place where families can let siblings meet for the first and last time. A place outside the bustling walls of a unit. A place where a family can be a family, even if just for a few hours.
This room will not only support grieving families like ours, but will also be a place of hope. A place where families can learn the medical skills necessary to bring their babies home. A home-like environment where parents and children can be a family, but with the safety of medical equipment within reach behind cabinets.
Emmalin’s story did not have the ending we all had hoped for, but from her story can come hope. Hope that more families can partake in a more calming environment than we had when everything else is crashing down. Hope that needed skills can be learned in an environment that more closely mimics homes. Hope that Emmalin’s story can live on, while helping others that have to walk in similar shoes.
The funds necessary to get this “room of hope” seem out of reach. But Emmalin fought too hard for us to not even try.
Our prayer is that many of you will donate, even if just a little. If not able to donate we hope that you will share our story.
This room can impact countless families and who knows what can come of it. Many NICUs could use this “room of hope” and Inova is just the first step!
Please consider joining our family as we work to push through the challenges and raise the $1,000,000.00 we need to fund - Emmalin’s Room of Hope.
We are going to break this lofty goal into steps, the ultimate goal is to raise the funds by Emmalin’s 6th Birthday! Each step reached brings us one step closer to Emmalin’s Room of Hope!
- $100,000 by May 20th in honor of Emmalin's 74 days of life
- $300,000 by August 29th for Nicole, Emmalin's mom who did more than anything to give her the best shot at life
- $500,000 by October 23rd for Jason, Emmalin's dad who was the rock for the entire family as we navigated her life.
- $750,000 by January 9th, because that is the anniversary of the day we almost lost her and it was only through an emergency cerclage and a lot of hope that we were able to meet her.
- $1,000,000 by March 8th, what would have been her sixth birthday.
Ready to donate? Head over to our fundraiser page! All donations are 100% tax deductible! https://us-p2p.e-activist.com/