Celebration reunites NICU graduates, families and medical staff

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Tiny premature newborns who weighed only a few pounds, and babies born with complex health problems, will reunite with the nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals who helped care for them during the precarious beginnings of their lives.

Approximately 300 former patients and their families will attend a reunion of “graduates,” who spent at least two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA in Westwood or UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.

Now in its 28th year, the event is held every two years and organized by UCLA nurses. The party gives NICU staff the chance to reunite with families and to celebrate the once delicate babies who are now thriving children.

The UCLA NICU takes care of medically fragile newborns, including micro-preemies born as early as 22 weeks gestation and weighing only a pound or two, as well as full-term babies who are born with life-threatening illnesses.

WHEN

Noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12

WHERE

Wilson Plaza, UCLA Campus (map)

INTERVIEW | PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

The following people will be among those available at the reunion:

Crisostomo Family (Bakersfield) — Parents Joseph and Stephanie Crisostomo and their 11-month-old daughter, Willow, an extreme micro-preemie who was born at 22 weeks and 4 days weighing less than a pound

Croxall Family (Pacific Palisades) — Parents Doug and Natasha Croxall and their 4-year-old son Charlie, who was born at 24 weeks weighing 1.6 pounds; and their children Ava, age 10, and Dutch, age 9

Curtis Family (Ventura) — Parents Brian and Melody Curtis and their 18-month-old daughter Rose, who was born at 37 weeks with a congenital birth defect called omphalocele in which her intestine, stomach, spleen and liver were on the outside of her body

Mejia Family (Los Angeles, Spanish speaking) — Parents Ivan and Herlinda Mejia and their 5-year-old son, Uriel, who was born at 36 weeks with a congenital heart defect requiring multiple surgeries; and their sons Cristian, 13, and Kevin, 15

Shohreh Samimi — Director of Neonatal ICU Nursing, UCLA Health System

BACKGROUND

UCLA NICUs offer the most advanced interventions available for critically ill babies, with medical and surgical specialists available 24 hours a day to address every possible physiological need. UCLA experts are also involved in extensive neonatal research and the NICU staff provides a variety of the most advanced developmental interventions for infants and families. Learn more about the NICU at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and the NICU at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica by visiting the UCLA Health NICU website.

MEDIA PARKING

Please RSVP to media contact. From 405 Freeway, exit Sunset Boulevard, turn right on Westwood Plaza and proceed to Lot 4. Parking is $12, or show attendant media credentials for complimentary parking. Media trucks should turn right onto Charles Young Drive from Westwood Plaza and park along the bus curb on right.

MEDIA CONTACT

Amy Albin, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu, 310-794-8672 (office), 310-597-5765 (cell)

Media Contact