Big Steps for Tiny Warriors

Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso and El Paso Children’s Hospital Celebrate First NICU Reunion

On Saturday, Sept. 14, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso and El Paso Children’s Hospital hosted their first-ever NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Reunion. The event celebrated former NICU patients known as “Tiny Warriors” and was an opportunity for the children and their families to reunite with NICU doctors, nurses and staff.

The reunion opened with a performance by Jefferson High School’s Silver Fox marching band. Youngsters were greeted by friendly faces, including princesses and mascots such as Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Bear, the El Paso Zoo’s Atomic the elephant, GECU’s Dru Blue and the U.S. Border Patrol’s Agent F.I.N.O. (Failure is Never an Option). The morning’s festivities featured fun activities and games, and concluded with a magic show from Payaso Botoncito Jr.

Princess characters greeted children at the NICU Reunion.

Princess characters greeted children at the NICU Reunion.

Organizers said they hope to make the reunion an annual event.

“I think this event has a multifaceted benefit for everyone. It would be good for the families to see the nurses and physicians that took special care of their babies,” said Sanjeet Panda, M.D., a neonatology specialist in TTP El Paso’s Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Panda is also an assistant professor in Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Department of Pediatrics.

“For our health care teams, we spend countless hours with the babies when they’re sick and time with their families when they are exhausted with worry,” Dr. Panda said. “But it is rewarding for us to see the children when they’re feeling well and healthy, and able to enjoy themselves and just be kids. The reunion is where we can all get together and have fun with the children and their families.”

The reunion also gave the children’s hospital staff an opportunity to see the positive impact its Level IV NICU has had on former patients.

“Our Level IV NICU offers a full range of pediatric subspecialties to provide the children in our area with the highest level of care possible. We are so excited to be part of the first-ever NICU reunion in partnership with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso,” said Cindy Stout, CEO and president of EPCH. “We have touched the lives of over 5,000 families, and we love seeing our Tiny Warriors and the amazing strides they have made.”

Sundt Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by Sundt Construction, Inc., and Prolacta Bioscience, Inc., a developer of human-milk-based nutritional products for premature infants, sponsored the event.

Check out our photo gallery of the NICU Reunion: