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Families Celebrate at Salinas Valley Health NICU Reunion

Families Celebrate at Salinas Valley Health NICU Reunion

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Many of the children gathered for the Salinas Valley Health NICU reunion dressed to reflect the celebration’s superhero theme and regardless of what they were wearing, all of the NICU graduates showed off their super-power smiles. The guests of honor have one thing in common; they spent five days or more at the Medical Center’s Norman P. Andresen, MD Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“For the NICU staff, it’s an important time to reconnect with families who shared one of the most significant periods of their life,” says Robert Castro, MD, Director of the Level III NICU at Salinas Valley Health. “NICU families are different because their birth is often traumatic or unexpected. This reunion allows the families to reunite with us and also gives all of our doctors, nurses, respiratory care professionals and other staff a chance to see the infants they cared for grow up happy and healthy. It’s a mutually rewarding reunion.”

127 NICU graduates and nearly 450 people took part in an afternoon of fun, games, a petting zoo, face painting, prizes and catered lunch by Panda Express. The annual reunion was held virtually during COVID-19 and the return to in-person festivities was especially welcome. The Salinas Valley Health level III NICU is operated in partnership with Stanford Medicine Children’s Health where Dr. Castro serves as a clinical professor.

“It’s wonderful to celebrate these baby miracles along with their families,” says Dr. Castro. “We are part of their journey and witness how these fragile and tiny babies are now growing children filled with spirit and personality.”

The festivities took place at the Salinas Valley Health Advanced Imaging in Monterey. The annual event is funded by Salinas Valley Health Foundation supported by volunteers from the NICU, Kitchell, Bay Federal Credit Union and Special Kids Connect.

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