"It's just amazing the different equipment that has been provided by Melissa's Fund. If we didn't have that equipment, no one wants to think about what could happen."
- Ashley Gray, Vandy's mom
Ashley and Derek Gray welcomed their baby girl, Vandy, into the world eight weeks early. Vandy was 4 pounds, 12 ounces and 18 inches long. She was the blessing the Grays had been waiting for.
"After five years of trying to get pregnant and finally a successful IVF transfer, one of the biggest fears is your baby not being born full term. When this did happen, we found ourselves at the mercy of the lifesaving equipment and staff of the Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” Ashley said.
Vandy spent the first 20 days of her life growing in the womb-like atmosphere of a Giraffe Isolette. The Grays were deeply touched to learn that this innovative equipment was purchased thanks to generous community donations to the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful we are,” Ashley shared. “Our lives were immediately impacted by the fund the night our daughter was admitted into the NICU, and we are confident her 20-day stay would have been prolonged had it not been for the equipment purchased by Melissa’s Fund.”
Each year, more than 1,000 sick and premature babies like Vandy are admitted to the Regional Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. Some stay for days, but many require months of specialized care. Melissa’s Fund gives these tiny, vulnerable patients the best chance of survival.
Amy and Chris George started the fund in 2005 in memory of their infant daughter Melissa Suzanne. Since that time, community donations have purchased more than $4.2 million in cutting-edge equipment for the Neonatal ICU.
“When Amy and Chris lost their precious daughter, they made the decision to give her short life on earth a legacy,” Ashley said. “Because of the George family, my daughter and countless other daughters and sons are being given a fighting chance at life.”