When the life of a newborn hangs perilously in the balance, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) marshals all its resources to save that life. Many people who have benefited from NICU in those critical moments want to give back.
They had that opportunity at ‘Bloom: an Evening of Love,’ a gala evening to raise funds for NICU. Now in its fifth year, Bloom was originally founded by those who felt a debt of gratitude to NICU.
Amy Novakovski’s newborn son failed to breathe when he was born and subsequently had aspiration problems. He landed in the NICU where he spent four days fighting for his life. ‘Dutch’ as he is known, is four now. “He’s perfect,” said Novakovski. He is a twin, born after his sister who was healthy from the start.
Bloom was originally conceived on a smaller scale and with a different name. Due to the response, what started with a steak night to raise a couple thousand dollars expanded into a larger vision. On May 14 over 300 guests attended the sold out event at the Travel Lodge Hotel.
The name changed to Bloom last year. “We decided to change gears and go a little bit more classic with our event versus the traditional steak night,” said Novakovski, who serves as co-event director alongside Tina Searcy. “We wanted a name that would encompass the event that could mean everything – the motherhood, the babies – so that’s where Bloom came from.”
Generosity was in bloom at this Evening of Love, both in monetary and emotional support. Several stories were shared of those who have been helped by NICU. Novakovski said friendships and partnerships are formed between people who share the common bond of their NICU experience.
Meaghan Craig hosted the evening and mentalist Curtis Strauss performed sleight of hand tricks at individual tables while guests enjoyed dinner. Tim Palmer conduct a live auction of eight or nine items listed in the program. One of those was an evening with Warman resident, Chef Darren Craddock who offered a five course meal paired with wines for four people. Many silent auction items were up for bid, from restaurant gift cards, to artwork, pottery and woodwork.
A grand prize of a trip to New Orleans was donated by Gateway Travel in Martensville. Tickets for a Westjet flight for two anywhere they travel were raffled at $10 for a single.
Approximately 10 per cent of all newborns in Canada require a stay and care by NICU. The Saskatoon NICU increased their number of beds from 32 to 38, as of December 2015.
There is no specific designation for the funds raised at Bloom. Novakovski said the money goes directly into NICU’s regular operating budget to be used as they see fit.