The 29th Annual Z99 Radiothon has hit a new record, raising a total of $783,807 for the Hospitals of Regina Foundation in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Dino Sophocleous is the CEO of the Hospitals of Regina Foundation. As CC, Lorie and Cassity read the final total at 6 p.m. on Friday he said he couldn’t thank the team and Rawlco Radio enough for this partnership.
“Then of course the community comes together, the community spirit is phenomenal and they’ve done great again, and once again, they’ve outdone themselves,” he said.
Donations collected from businesses, community groups, schools and individuals will go directly toward buying new equipment for the NICU.
“It will go to new technologies, it will be replacing older technologies, it will go to whatever the NICU needs to make sure that those babies lives become better and they have bright futures,” Sophocleous said.
Over the course of the 36 hour Radiothon, dozens of families whose babies spent time in the NICU dropped by to show their support.
Darby Young’s daughter Joleigh was born three months early and spent 107 days in the NICU.
“She did have a bleed so she does have a shunt in, and there was a hole in her heart but they were able to rectify that with the medication so it’s amazing what they are able to do, and the miracles that they accomplish up there,” Young described.
She also credits the work of the doctors, nurses and staff at the NICU who she said became more like her family taking care of both her baby and her.
Jamie and Sean Winkler also came through with a miracle in the NICU after they found out their daughters had twin to twin transfusion syndrome which causes one twin to be underdeveloped and the other to be overdeveloped. After emergency surgery with specialists in Toronto, Jamie Winkler came home to Regina to deliver the twin girls Bella and Mila.
“Our outcome for both of them wasn’t very good. We had very, very low percentage, but Bella especially was not doing very well,” Winkler explained, with tears coming to her eyes at the memory.
“I had to plan their funeral 10 minutes before they were born.”
Immediately after she delivered the twins, Mila was whisked away for medical attention while Bella was left with her mom.
“They weren’t expecting her to survive, and Bella went ‘forget this’ and took a huge breath and a huge bubble and just started screaming.”
The girls were so tiny Winkler said they could almost fit in her hands, Mila weighed 820 grams and Bella weighed 650. Thanks to the NICU, they both came through. Both girls are now seven months old and doing very well.