Jaundiced babies at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s neonatal intensive care unit now have access to upgraded treatment.
Red Deer College student Mckenna Causey raised $12,721 for the hospital to purchase the phototherapy equipment, which arrived in the spring.
The equipment includes an overhead light source to shine down on the baby, along with a light source in the form of a blanket a newborn can lie on, to envelop the infant in light.
Nurse Lori Niemeyer said jaundice is a common problem and phototherapy is a common remedy. The new equipment will help babies get better faster.
“Jaundice is a normally occurring phenomenon in all babies. Some babies just get overwhelmed by it, especially pre-term babies, sick babies, dehydrated babies,” Niemeyer said.
She said out of the 16 babies currently in the unit, there are likely one or two using the equipment.
“It really does help the unit, for sure. Giving us this set of equipment gives us the ability to treat more babies that would otherwise have to leave the region potentially for treatment.”
Niemeyer said the equipment has about a 10-year life span, and since it will be shared by the unit and pediatrics, it will assist many young patients.
It took Causey about a year to raise the money. She started in July 2017 with $150 from the Royal Bank of Canada through its Make 150 Count campaign that encouraged young people to make a positive impact in their communities.
Causey said she tried to find 150 businesses to each donate $150 to raise enough money for two sets of phototherapy equipment, but fundraising was more difficult than she anticipated.
Thankfully, an anonymous donor stepped forward with $5,000, but every donation helped.
She recalled a $150 contribution from a single mom with four children, who had to travel to Edmonton to access phototherapy for one of her babies.
“There are so many bad things that happen in the world. You kind of think that people aren’t that great. But you do stuff like this and you find people who are really that great.”