Imagine spending months preparing for that special life inside of you, weeks decorating the nursery, hours in labor—only to be robbed of those first moments with your child. What if those moments turned into days, weeks even? For parents of babies born prematurely, an unexpected separation can be devastating.
One VarageSale community decided to do something about it…
The members of Truly Scrumptious (Salisbury, UK) are no strangers to charitable giving. Since they first came together to buy and sell baby and children’s items three years ago, they’ve been generously organizing two to three fundraisers a year.
From bake sales to toy raffles, this community has done it all. But for their latest act of kindness, they did something truly spectacular. They checked in with their local hospital to see what was on their “wish list,” and found that the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) needed something especially close to their hearts.
The wish? A Polaroid camera. For parents whose newborns are in need of urgent medical care, something as simple as a photo can help ease the pain caused by an unexpected separation. “We wanted to be able to give parents something physical… something to hold and look at,” says Nurse Jacquelyn Dalley. And in an age of Facebook albums and Instagram, it’s no surprise that a tangible photo, one that can be lovingly placed in a frame and have its own special spot on a bedside table, can mean everything.
“Every time and every baby is different,” Nurse Dalley explains. The time apart can be as short as four hours or as long as 100 days. But when it comes to heartbroken parents, it’s always the same: They just want their babies back, healthy, safe and sound. While they wait to hold their newborn close, breathe in their scent and caress little fingers and toes, something as small as a photo can be a big help.
So the Truly Scrumptious group put their heads (and hearts) together, and organized an online auction within their VarageSale community.
“I basically asked the crafty ladies of our group if they would be willing to donate [their] work,” recalls Jodie, a Truly Scrumptious admin. From knitted blankets and cardigans to baby goods and wall hangings, the handmade items started pouring in.
Then Jodie got to work. Each day, she pinned a photo of the items to the top of the feed. Members then had 24 hours to bid. The Truly Scrumptious community was all for it! Friendly bidding wars ensued—all for a good cause, of course!—and before they knew it, they had exceeded their goal.
With the money raised, the Truly Scrumptious group was able to buy an instant camera for the neonatal unit. “When we handed over the Polaroid camera, I felt quite emotional as I knew it was something that [would] be used to do something so special…” says Jodie.
But the giving didn’t stop there. The community ended up picking other “wishes” for the hospital: a collection of colorful plastic plates for the children’s ward and 40 digital thermometers for the maternity ward.
Still, the camera was definitely dearest to hearts of staff and parents alike. “They absolutely [love] it,” explains Nurse Dalley. This photo is “something they will cherish” no matter how long they are apart.
And for those angels born too soon to ever make it home, these precious photos will live in their parents’ hearts forever.