Mother Organizes Christmas Fundraiser for Families with Babies in NICU: ‘Don’t Lose Faith, Keep God First’

Photo of a premature baby in incubator.
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A mother whose daughter was born prematurely in the NICU recently returned to spread some Christmas cheer to other NICU families going through a similarly scary time.

As Brandi Reed brought her daughter Scarlett to visit Santa Claus at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women in Louisiana this past week, the experience of returning to the hospital was extra significant considering she was in the same place nine months ago but under very different circumstances.

“Being in the NICU is difficult and I just couldn’t imagine having to do it over the holidays,” she told NBC affiliate KPLC.

Brandi was admitted into the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) when she was 21 weeks pregnant, and she gave birth to Scarlett prematurely at 27 weeks, according to KPLC. She then stayed for another 74 days in the NICU.

In 2021, one-in-ten babies in the U.S. were born prematurely, according to the CDC. Babies who survive a premature birth are at an increased risk for breathing issues, digestive problems, bleeding in the brain, and may have long-term developmental problems.

Although the experience was frightening for Brandi, she says the NICU staff did everything they could to help her feel at ease.

“[S]he was actually the first baby to get one of the cameras, so it put my mind at ease being able to see her to know that she was okay,” Brandi told KPLCA.

With Santa Claus bringing joy to Scarlett and other young children who were once treated in the NICU, Brandi is also spreading Christmas cheer this year to families in the unit.

She has organized a fundraiser for mothers with babies in Lake Charles Memorial’s NICU with the intention of giving them gift cards and money to give them a little bit of relief from the stress they are going through.

So far, Brandi has raised over $1,600.

The mother shared a word of encouragement to families whose infants are in the unit and are worried about their health.

“Don’t lose faith, keep God first and he has a plan and he’s gonna get you through it all no matter the outcome,” she said.

The Lake Charles Memorial Hospital website is currently accepting donations for struggling families inside the hospital’s NICU under the “Women and Children’s Fund” category.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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