There’s no gift like the gift of a newborn baby at the holidays.
But, the NICU is the last place any parent wants to spend the Christmas.
Luckily, one little girl not only delivered gifts to the NICU Saturday but also hope.
Saturday was Jaylee McCollum’s fourth birthday, but instead of receiving gifts, she's giving. She gave gifts to the parents of babies who are sleeping, growing, healing in the very place she did four years earlier.
“She was here for 101 days. She weighed one pound six ounces,” Janelle McCollum, Jaylee's mom, said.
Jaylee was born at 26 weeks.
"I honestly didn’t know how much hope there was - if any,” McCollum added.
But then Jaylee's parents received a stocking and letter from parents whose daughter had been born weighing one pound on the same day, just a year before, who was now happy and healthy.
“It gave a lot of hope. A whole lot of hope,” McCollum said.
And it’s that hope that Jaylee, now happy and healthy herself, gave other NICU parents who have to spend the holidays at the hospital.
“They have good days and bad days. Scary things happen, and then you see those kids are just fine and they went through the same things,” Ursula Fuentes, mother of NICU baby Lucas, said.
Jaylee and her family are a reminder of hope for the entire NICU family.
“Those babies are stronger than what we think,” McCollum added.
“They grew up, and they’re okay. And even if they do face some challenges, they got through them. And so that gives us hope for him because he’s facing the same things that they did," Fuentes added.
In addition to delivering gifts to the NICU families, Jaylee and her family donated to the Ronald McDonald House.
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