August 31 was a lovely day for the backyard wedding of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) nurse Maureen Leary and her fiancé Jeff Morrison.
A small intimate affair, the couple asked that guests do not bring gifts. “We’ve been together for years and didn’t need anything, we just wanted everyone to share in our day and have fun,” said Maureen.
As guests do, they brought cards and checks anyway.
Photo inspire an idea
As they pondered what they could do with their generous gifts, Jeff noticed one of the photos kept in their family room. It was a photo of one of Maureen’s patients.
“For 12 out of her 15 months of life I cared for a beautiful little girl and became close with her family. She was very special,” explained Maureen.
This is when the idea struck them. “Together we knew what to do with the money, we’d buy items for the PICU,” she said.
"We deal with the most critical patients. Families can experience the most painful times in their lives there. It’s not something they want to relive,” she said.
It was time for Maureen and Jeff to do some epic online shopping – determining things that would be most useful for PICU patients and their families.
“I wanted to choose items I wished we had for the babies,” she said. “We wanted to get things that would make them feel more at home and enable parents to help their children reach important milestones. We didn’t have activity toys, items that were fun for the babies that they could use throughout the day,” Maureen said.
They proceeded to purchase three activity swings, two activity saucers, two infant rocking seats, two push cars and about 40 lavender shampoo, wash and lotion sets. Maureen said the lavender scent is soothing and makes it feel more like home for parents.
“We also wanted something for the cribs. Mobiles would be perfect but there is just no way to have them on the cribs and be able to do all that we need to do to provide care,” she noted.
The couple found ducks that play music and project images on the walls or ceiling. “We can put them anywhere and they are out of the way,” she said.
Supplies arrive in the PICU
Tuesday, September 17 was like Christmas in the PICU. The boxes arrived and staff happily unpacked the cherished contents. “Everyone was lending a hand, taking things out of boxes, assembling items and seeing what we have,” said Maureen.
It was a special day in the PICU-one that will continue touching patients and staff for years to come.
When asked if there’s anything else the PICU really needs, she responded quickly and said “we love to get cotton and fleece blankets to comfort the babies.”