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Thursday, August 10, 2017

$10,000 Huggies’ No Baby Unhugged Grant for RNICU Cuddlers Program Prompts Overwhelming Response

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital will invest in volunteer training and recruitment, hugger chairs and educational materials for volunteers and patient families.

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For the over 500,000 premature babies born in the U.S. each year, human touch can have a powerful impact on healthy growth and development. To ensure that all babies—including those who are most vulnerable—get the hugs they need to thrive, the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program awarded seven $10,000 grants to hospitals across the country, including Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, to help support or establish volunteer hugging programs. These programs provide much needed physical human interaction for newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) that can help make their transition from the hospital to the home quicker.

“Caregivers at our Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are thrilled to receive Huggies’ No Baby Unhugged grant, which will help us enhance and expand our current Cuddlers Program,” said Edmund LaGamma, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. "Neonatal Cuddling Programs like ours offer a treatment like no other in medicine: the human touch. It is clear that premature or seriously ill newborns who are held and enjoy moments of personal interaction and compassion have a much better chance of recovery. They have improved sound recognition, visual fixation, and calming skills that assist the developing brain in achieving normal milestones. Touch is an irreplaceable force of human kindness and this grant emphasizes its importance.” 

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital will use the grant in a variety of ways, such as investing in volunteer training and recruitment, hugger chairs and educational materials for volunteers and patient families. 

*PLEASE NOTE: Due to the overwhelming response to the announcement of the Huggies grant and plans to expand the Neonatal Cuddlers Program at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, our Volunteer Office is no longer accepting applications from those wishing to volunteer as cuddlers. Submitted requests are in the process of being reviewed and prospective cuddlers will be contacted for next steps. Thank you for your interest in our Neonatal Cuddlers Program.