Edgewood, KY – St. Elizabeth Healthcare is honored to announce a partnership with MacKenzie’s Marvelous Adventures, LLC, to offer support and encouragement to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) families.
MacKenzie’s Marvelous Adventures bloomed in memory of Caitlin Graham and Andrew Louden’s daughter, MacKenzie, who lived only 20 days after being born prematurely. Caitlin and Andrew created a beautiful legacy to honor MacKenzie’s memory and help other NICU families during a stressful and overwhelming time.
On November 25, 2019, MacKenzie Grace Louden arrived via c-section, weighing 1 lb. 2.3 oz. At 26 weeks and five days she was immediately admitted to a nearby Level IV NICU. This was the start of Caitlin and Andrew’s roller-coaster of being first-time parents in the NICU.
“When new families walk into the NICU for the first time, it’s beyond scary because of all of the unknowns,” says Andrew. “Time can stand still or race by, and you have to learn to trust everyone helping your baby. In that time, families need support – and even though it can be hard to admit, we all need that extra assistance.”
Caitlin and Andrew spent almost three weeks in the NICU by MacKenzie’s side, taking detailed notes on her daily progress. She steadily improved until day 20, when MacKenzie’s health took a dramatic turn. Her NICU team diagnosed her with Necrotizing Enterocolitis, a dangerous disease that affects the intestines of premature infants. MacKenzie’s infection quickly turned severe and she died on December 15.
Determined to honor their daughter and turn MacKenzie’s NICU journey into a tribute, Caitlin and Andrew created NICU Adventure Kits. These kits include essential and comforting items, including:
- $10 gift card to a national chain restaurant provided by Reece’s Blueprint
- The Moment You Were Born: A Story for You and Your Premature Baby book
- MMA Athletic water bottle
- Medela breast milk storage bags
- Never Forget How Much I Love You journal
- Tree of life rock
- Cross picture frame
- Elephant plushie
- NICU Mama necklace made by The Cooper Project
- MMA wristbands
- Gender-neutral hand-crocheted hats
- Guardian angel tea-light holder
- Fragrance-free hypoallergenic lotions
- Hand-written letter by a previous NICU family
- NICU milestone card
- Kleenex tissues
NICU families say that this thoughtfully curated box of gifts means so much – especially the encouraging letter from a NICU graduate’s parents. Caitlin and Andrew picked the St. Elizabeth NICU to receive the Adventure Boxes for several personal reasons, including a close family connection to Missing Alexis, a foundation that provides bereavement support to St. Elizabeth families.
“It’s an honor to partner with Caitlin and Andrew to help our NICU families in MacKenzie’s memory,” says Ellee Humphrey, System Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “These NICU Adventure Kits provide exactly the type of care we show our families – thoughtful and compassionate support during uncertain times.”
Caitlin and Andrew provide resources and encouragement to fellow NICU families in the greater Cincinnati community.
“We live in Northern Kentucky and want to give back to our community as they gave to us,” says Caitlin. “We are also amazed by the number of micro-preemies (babies born before 26 weeks gestation, or who weigh less than 1 pound, 12 ounces) St. Elizabeth cares for each year. We are so excited to start this marvelous adventure with St. Elizabeth!”
The St. Elizabeth Healthcare Level III NICU offers 24/7 specialized neonatology and perinatology care for babies born early or who need extra support. To donate supplies for a NICU Adventure Kit or funds to the NICU Warrior project, please visit MacKenzie’s Marvelous Adventures for more information.
About St. Elizabeth Healthcare
St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates five facilities throughout Northern Kentucky and more than 115 primary care and specialty office locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. A member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, St. Elizabeth is a mission-based organization committed to improving the health of the communities it serves, providing more than $116 million in uncompensated care and benefit to the community in 2018. For more information, visit www.stelizabeth.com.