April 26, 2023
Austin, TX — More than 1,600 people attended Central Texas’ largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion at Q2 Stadium on Sunday, April 23. The inaugural Hand to Hold NICU Graduate Reunion presented by St. David’s HealthCare allowed more than 300 former NICU patients to walk across a graduation stage. Hand to Hold, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing NICU parents with support and resources, hosted the event for all current and former NICU families in Central Texas.
“NICU graduation is an emotional and celebratory milestone for families regardless of whether their baby spent a few weeks or many months in the NICU,” Kelli Kelley, founder and CEO of Hand to Hold, said. “The Hand to Hold NICU Graduate Reunion was an opportunity to recognize these amazing NICU graduates and their families while providing them the opportunity to reunite with their beloved nurses, physicians and Hand to Hold Family Support Specialists to celebrate all they have overcome.”
Hand to Hold serves more than 1,600 families through its direct support programs at St. David’s Medical Center and St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas.
“St. David’s HealthCare is proud to partner with Hand to Hold, not just in our hospitals but also in the community,” Denise Bradley, vice president of communications and community affairs at St. David’s HealthCare, said. “Seeing NICU families and care teams reunite is so special, as parents often form lifelong relationships with doctors, nurses and staff because of the intense nature of care provided for babies and the length of their stay.”
The NICU Graduate Reunion took place on the HEB Plaza with family-friendly activities and graduate “walks” on the graduation stage inside Q2 Stadium every hour. Guests enjoyed live performances throughout the day from La Murga de Austin, Vista Ridge High School Drumline, and Bridge Point Bobcat Beats and Bobcat Singers.
For photos and videos from the event, families can visit HandToHold.org/nicugrad.