We remain forever grateful to the great doctors and nurses for saving Lily and Aidan, and would like to help other babies now that have, or will share their experiences.
~ Jennifer Driscoll, The Lily's Hope Foundation
I am excited to share my interview with Jennifer from The Lily's Hope Foundation. The work they are doing is amazing and much needed! Make sure to connect and support on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Tell us your story and how Lily's Hope began.
The Lily’s Hope Foundation was started in honor of our daughter, Lilian Hope, who was born 7 weeks premature, only 2 lbs. 12 oz. and 15 inches long in July 2007. She was born early because of preeclampsia and a placental abruption; small for 33 weeks gestational age. She almost didn’t make it through her first day of life, but thanks to the amazing doctors and nurses at Lehigh Valley Hospital, they saved her life. She was on a ventilator and oscillator for 7 days, had a chest tube, multiple blood transfusions, and spent almost 1 month in the NICU. Later she had speech and physical therapies. Lily struggled with gastrointestinal issues, failure to thrive, had surgery and saw specialists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at age 5.
Additionally our son, Aidan Patrick, who was born October 2013, 3 weeks premature at 4 bs. 11 oz and 18 1/2 inches long. He had gastrointestinal and pulmonary issues like Lily, as well as severe allergies and asthma due to his prematurity, and sees specialists at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. He also went through early intervention also for physical and speech therapy like Lily. Lily and Aidan had very rough beginnings, but with their strength, wonderful doctors, hope & prayers, they were able to rise above it all. We remain forever grateful to the great doctors and nurses for saving Lily and Aidan, and would like to help other babies now that have, or will share their experiences.
Immediately upon Lily’s birth, we felt compelled to give back for what we had been blessed with. Given the surprise and inability to anticipate premature birth, we saw a need to help families like us that didn’t have the time or resources to prepare for their child’s early arrival. Additionally, premature babies may have special needs such as specific car seats for infants under 5 pounds, special clothing with buttons and Velcro for cords and IV’s, and much more. These additional needs can be hard to find and very expensive in a short amount of time. As we reflected on the needs of families who shared experiences like ours, we wanted to establish the Lily’s Hope Foundation to provide resources for premature babies and their families.
In 2013, the Lily’s Hope Foundation officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our main goal is to help families that are in the NICU and to help make the transition home a little easier. We do this by providing families with essential items since they have been unable to prepare for their child’s early arrival. Our Packages of Hope are Transition Home, Hospital, Emergency Needs as well as Sibling Care Packages. Our families are referred to us by word of mouth, or by case managers, hospital staff, doctors and nurses from hospitals we support.
What kind of impact do you hope that your organization can have?
Our goal is to answer the emergency needs of families with premature babies by providing them with basic needs supplies and/or special medical equipment. When a child is born prematurely, the family goes through immense pressure to help care for the baby. There is reduced income, increased transportation costs because of traveling to and from hospitals, increased medical bills, increased daycare/babysitting costs, and more. These pressures in addition to the premature baby's new, urgent and unexpected needs adds to the difficulty in finding specific personal care items, clothes, food, and medicines. Our support helps to reduce these stresses. We strive to provide families with physical support for their immediate use to provide stability during a challenging time. We want to alleviate the stress and allow the families to focus on the health of their fragile newborns.
What inspires you to keep helping families dealing with prematurity?
Lily and Aidan, of course, inspired us to start Lily's Hope Foundation. It was only a few weeks after Lily was born when I had the idea to start LHF. We had an amazing support system around us setting up our crib and nursery, grocery shopping for us, watching our dog, cooking and just being there with support. I felt so blessed with what we had been given that I had to give back and provide the same love and support that we received to those that needed it. Also, our families continue to be a source of inspiration for us. We receive letters, emails, messages and often photos of their little ones in the NICU and even a few years later. It means so much for these families to trust us enough to share their story and testimonials in their most vulnerable times, but hopefully have gained so much by being a part of Lily's Hope Foundation. And now, they have become a part of the Foundation's family and a story of hope and impact.
How can someone help support your mission and organization?
You can make monetary donations here, or shop from our Amazon charity list.
We are always looking for volunteers to assist us with diaper drives, fundraisers, shopping, deliveries to families, and more.
Purchase merch from our Etsy store.