Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unti Journey's End

I received this great email from my Aunt Janice recently: 
"Hi!  I already made a difference this past week.  There was an article in the paper about donating preemie to size 3 months sleepers to the NICU unit at our hospital.  Well, I went out and bought six of them, three for a boy and three for a girl and dropped them off at one of our coffee shops that was collecting them.  I always try to do something for someone at Christmas time."

Nice work Jan-tice! I tried to do some research and find a link or article about similar donations in Saginaw (where Janice and my dad's family are) or around here...and no such luck. 

But then I thought, wait a second! I know a FABULOUS way you can help little ones in the NICU! You can support Until Journey's End, which is the non profit I did my senior photography project on. They support families that have to live away from home while they go through a medical emergency.

One of the families in my senior project was the McClain family, and I was able to meet with them in the NICU at Spectrum in Grand Rapids. 

I had no idea what to expect walking into the hospital that day...and if you've never been to a NICU, let me just say it's terrifying. And amazing. All at the same time.

Terrifying because there are all these incredibly small babies that are so tiny you are afraid to even breathe on them because they seem so fragile and helpless.

Amazing because the NICU is filled with amazing nurses and doctors who care more about these children than anything. And there is this amazing buzz around each child that is a team and family of people who are working to help them survive.

The McClain family was at the NICU because their youngest, Lexi was born prematurely, and had NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis, which is an inflammatory disease in the intestine) due to her early birth. When she was born, she weighed 1lb 5oz.

The McClain's home is in Ludington which is about an hour and a half away from Grand Rapids, where Lexi had to be in order to receive the proper care. Their family spent so much time commuting, sleeping in the hospital or staying at the Ronald McDonald House in order to be with their new baby. 

And this is where Until Journey's End comes in. They send care packages and meet with families who are experiencing situations like the McClains. They support them in any way they can, whether it's financially, in prayer, or simply sending them an encouraging card. 

I will introduce you to the other families that I documented for my senior project later on, but for now, if you'd like to donate supplies for care packages or donate to UJE, click here.

Be the change. Make the difference.


  1. Jessie, thank you so much! We've sent out 2 care packages to two new families this month! Your support is a huge help! Blessings! Tiffany and UJE

  2. May God continue to bless any and all Care Givers, whether they're volunteering or have paid positions, in their efforts to make these families feel more comfortable in an extremely stressful and difficult situation.