January 16, 2018 7:00 pm
Updated: January 18, 2018 8:59 pm

19th annual Corus Radiothon looking to raise money for Stollery Children’s Hospital equipment

WATCH ABOVE: So many stories and successes come out of the Stollery Children's Hospital. Jesse Beyer tells us he, in fact, was a Champion Child.

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For the 19th annual Corus Radiothon, the focus is care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

This year’s radiothon got underway Wednesday at 6 a.m. and 630 CHED, CISN Country 103.9, 92.5 Fresh Radio and iNews880 will work until 6 p.m. on Thursday to raise money for several pieces of equipment.

This year the hospital is looking to purchase five pieces of equipment – one Blanketrol, two neoBLUE blankets and two empath recliners.

The Blanketrol is a hyper-hypothermia system used to cool babies down after a critical incident at birth.

READ MORE: From volunteers to technology, here’s what goes into putting on the Corus Radiothon

“That gives their bodies and brains some time to heal and, hopefully, have better outcomes,” nurse Trina Adams said.

The Blanketrol helps babies cool down after a critical incident during childbirth.

Courtesy: CSZ Medical

The neoBLUE blankets are used to replace traditional jaundice treatments that see babies under lamps for several days. The blanket allows the baby to receive treatment via a blue LED from underneath.

“That way they can be held by their parents while they’re receiving their treatments and they’re not isolated,” Adams said.

Watch below: One of the families helped by the Stollery Children’s Hospital is Lilly Wiese. After a frightening delivery, she was placed in a ‘blanketrol’ to prevent damage to her brain. Su-Ling explains.

The neoBLUE Blanket allows a baby to receive a blue LED light to treat jaundice, while still allowing the parents to hold their child.

Courtesy: Natus

The final item is a specially designed recliner. It can tuck right in to the baby’s bedside, allowing doctors and nurses to still move around it, and has features that make it easier to get the baby from the bed into a parent’s arms.

“The arms can fold down so if there are babies with a lot of tubes and wires it makes moving the baby from the bed to be in their parent’s arms safer, and also a lot more comfortable for both the baby and the parents,” nurse Valerie Levesque said.

The Empath Recliner makes it easier for parents to hold their babies who are hooked up to machines.

Courtesy: Steelcase

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The neoBLUE blankets and the recliner are really about trying to “normalize” a difficult birth, both nurses said

“It’s really critical that parents are at the bedside with their babies whenever possible,” Levesque said. “That helps babies heal and helps their brain development, and really can improve their outcomes.

“Babies are meant to be with their parents. Whether they’re born pre-term or term, they’re meant to be snuggled in with their parents, and that’s what we want to promote even if they’re feeling unwell and are in the NICU.”

While something as simple as a recliner may not seem like much to people who have never had to spend time in the NICU with their baby, Adams said being next to your child during such a difficult time – and being comfortable while doing it – changes everything.

READ MORE: Stollery wins top per capita fundraising prize for 24-hour gaming event

“You see the look on their face when they get to hold their baby. Just being present at the bedside and getting to hold your child makes a world of difference,” Adams said.

The radiothon difference

Every year the four radio stations broadcast live from the hospital for two days.

Regular Edmontonians, and people from outside the city, contribute and rack up enormous totals. Last year the radiothon raised over $1.2 million for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Watch below: A closer look at the Corus Radiothon, by the numbers

While neither Adams or Levesque has personally participated in the radiothon, they say it completely changes the energy in the hospital for those two days.

“Staff is walking by, seeing the value that the foundation contributes to our hospital and the improvements in the family’s experiences and the willingness of – not just the public – but the families that have been at the hospital are now the ones contributing,” Adams said. “They understand the significance of some of those contributions to the care that we can provide.

“It really elevates the quality of care that we can provide to families and their experience in just a whole different light.”

Watch below: Leduc mother shares her daughter’s connection to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Stacey Bruinsma says her daughter Annika was in a full body cast at five months old.  

The Stollery is all about family-centred care. Its focus isn’t just to take care of the sick kids, but to also take care of the families. The equipment purchased from the radiothon will do just that.

“As much as possible we’d like it to be the same [as a birth without complications], so we try to make any way the baby can be held in the NICU possible,” Levesque said. “We want those parents with their babies touching, holding as much as possible.”

READ MORE: Corus Radiothon raises over $1.2M for Stollery Children’s Hospital

To donate to the 2018 Corus Radiothon, visit the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation website, call 780-407-5437 or 1-866-407-5437 to donate by phone, or text STOLLERY to 45678 to donate $10, $20 or $50.

Since 2000, the Corus Radiothon has raised more than $20 million for the foundation.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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