On World Prematurity Day, the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF) recognizes a local family’s support in raising funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).
Earlier this year, the Kerr family experienced 110 days with their newborn daughter in the NICU during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Hannah, their daughter, was born prematurely due to complications of HELLP syndrome, weighing only one pound and 12 ounces.
According to a release from UHKF, dated Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, over the last eight months, the Kerr family’s Operation Hellping Hannah fundraising campaign raised an outstanding $64,000 for the NICU.
“I am in awe of the hard work and dedication from the NICU care team,” said Pat Kerr, the grateful NICU dad. “The early arrival of my daughter was unexpected, but the team that watched over her was incredible. I am thrilled we were able to raise funds, helping families and babies who might need the NICU in the future. Thank you for watching over my family in our time of need!”
At the time of Hannah’s surprise arrival, Kerr was deployed in Latvia. He had to quarantine for two weeks before he could meet his new daughter, according to the release. To pass the time, he came up with the Operation Hellping Hannah campaign to give back to the NICU that helped his family in their time of need, UHKF said.
On top of raising funds, Kerr decided to “ruck” 1 km for every day that Hannah was in the NICU, which ended up being 110 days.
In the early hours on Saturday, September 25, Kerr and his friend, Corporal Kevin Fournier, began rucking the 110 km trek from the Great Memorial Hospital in Perth to KHSC’s Kingston General Hospital to raise even more funds and awareness for the campaign. They arrived at KGH at 3:30 p.m. the following day.
“Thank you to Pat Kerr and Kevin Fournier for banding together and inspiring others to join them in raising these funds for the NICU,” said Michelle Chatten Fiedorec, UHKF Board Member. “Your thoughtfulness at what must have been a terrifying time for the Kerr Family is remarkable. On behalf of the Board of Directors and everyone at UHKF I want to thank you for supporting future parents whose newborns are in the NICU with this incredible gift.”