MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – Little superheroes walked into Hillcrest Hospital Sunday afternoon, ready to celebrate with the people who helped them survive their first days, weeks and months on earth.
Every year Hillcrest hosts a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion where preemies who have beaten the odds and their families reunite with the doctors and nurses who helped them become miracles.
“So my water broke at 17 weeks and I was told viability is not till 24 weeks and Hillcrest Hospital was the only hospital that gave me hope and said that they could help,” explained Tara Vigarino.
Vigarino’s son, Nico, is now thriving.
“Say thank you and see everyone again and look at all the other miracles that Hillcrest has given to other people, this is our second family,” said Dominic Vigarino.
Dr. Jeff Schwersenski has been at the NICU at Hillcrest for 22 years. He said the reunion is the best day of the year.
“It’s just a very special feeling when you see how far they’ve developed and how far they have come along and how they can interact with you. When they are early and premature and incubated its very different,” said Schwesenski.
Alyson Manningham and her sister Nicole both had premature babies at Hillcrest.
“It was really stressful being here, but the staff was amazing. I pretty much watched them keep him alive for the first month and I was up there every day so they became part of the family,” said Manningham.