BY: Michaela MacDonald, WHAS
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WHAS11) – Twins, Ellis and Parker VanderMolen are almost 16-months-old, with lots of energy. They were born 6 weeks premature at Hardin Memorial Hospital just a minute apart, but they would spend their first two weeks of life separated by about 45 miles.
“They took Parker up to Kosair, because Hardin wasn’t at the level NICU they needed to give her a shot,” Danielle VanderMolen said.
Parker’s lungs were underdeveloped and she needed to be at a Level 2 Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit, but Ellis was able to stay at HMH with his mom, which meant a lot of traveling for their dad.
“I’d go up there first thing in the morning, spend all day with Parker, then come home in the evening, come home to Hardin and spend time with Danielle and get to see Ellis,” Jon VanderMolen said.
If the VanderMolen twins were born today, they would both be able to stay at Hardin Memorial’s new, fully operational Level 2 NICU, thanks in part to a grant from the WHAS Crusade for Children.
“They granted us a 340 some thousand dollar grant in order to equip the neo natal intensive care unit, and it made it possible to make it a first class, a first class unit so we are extremely proud of that,” Joe Prather said, the HMH Foundation Board Chairman.
A portion of the grant funded advanced equipment like incubators, a ventilator, and an LED phototherapy system to treat jaundice. Now the HMH NICU can help babies born as young as 29 weeks.
“It has allowed this vital care, closer to home,” Prather said.
Since the NICU opened in September, they have helped roughly 120 babies.
“It is a huge asset to the community, it helps keep families together because before we were able to offer this service, mom would come and deliver her baby and then quickly be separated from the baby, the baby would be stabilize here, the Kosair team would come and take them to Kosair, mom would get to hold, maybe get to hold the baby a minute or just see and touch the baby and then be whisked away to Louisville, and mom was left here because she needed to recover,” Katie Sandidge said, the Associate Nurse Manager.
While they did not get to use the new NICU, the VanderMolens are still excited to see the renovations. Jon is a Radcliff Firefighter and collects for the WHAS Crusade for Children every year.
“You know that all the money collected goes back into the home area anyway, you just kind of know that, but then you get to see it, get to experience and it affects you personally, and it gets to help you out, so being able to see that is a big positive spin on everything and more motivation to get out there and collect and do it again,” Jon VanderMolen said.
Part of the grant will also go towards renovating the waiting room and formula room at the NICU. Be sure to join us for the 63rd Annual WHAS Crusade for Children Telethon this Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m.
For more information visit www.crusadeforchildren.org.