AROUND TOWN: Newborn Hope's long tradition of helping premature babies

January 10, 2014 Updated: January 10, 2014 at 11:15 am
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Fathers and mothers were enthusiastic supporters as little ones walked the runway at Newborn Hope. Photo by Linda Navarro

Since 1973 local women, many of them longtime friends and Junior Leaguers, have refused to give up "Hope." They'll do their philanthropic best to never give up on Colorado's tiniest babies.

An annual holiday-season fashion show, with several generations of children and grandchildren following the family tradition of modeling on the show's runway and an opportunity to "do lunch" at the Broadmoor, has raised almost $5 million for prenatal and neonatal programs and support.

Now known as Newborn Hope, the nonprofit started as a November Noel benefit luncheon by Zoya Dickins Miller after a friend's premature baby was born with respiratory distress syndrome.

On Dec. 13, a crowd of 800, including tables of sponsors, continued the tradition, celebrating "Images of Hope" at the 41st annual event at the Broadmoor International Center. An estimated $150,000 was raised and grants will be awarded later this year.

Brothers and sisters and cousins were the featured child models, with older siblings sometimes corraling precocious family members to the delight of the audience. There were two and three members of several families in the show but there were four Bufkins -- Abby, Emma, Jackson and Porter -- and four Simons -- Anna Catherine, Caroline, Henry and Margo.

A highlight of each Newborn Hope luncheon is the introduction of a family impacted by prematurity. Enter tiny Eliana Wright, a blue-eyed charmer born three months early in 2012. Parents Colleen and Dan told how they always prayed for the best but prepared themselves for the worst over the 15 weeks Eliana was hospitalized. The hospital staff at St. Francis Medical Center, particularly the NICU nurses, were with them every step, said the Wrights, who introduced neonatal nurse Amy Johnson, who was "always there on Eliana's hardest nights," those dark moments when they were afraid she wouldn't live until morning, said Colleen Wright. Johnson received the Cindy Fowler Award of Hope as the person who gave the family "devoted compassion for care, hope for the future and a steadfast hand in the most difficult times."

Lori and Bill Kurtz received a special thank you for their years of support for Newborn Hope. William has provided the men's fashions and Lori has spent a number of years on the luncheon committees. Three of their children modeled in the shows.

Co-chairs of the 2013 Newborn Hope were Lisa Helton, Lara Herholtz and Karla McKechnie. Fashions were from CAbi, Etcetera, Kirk and Hill, Macy's, Matilda Jane, The Shops at The Broadmoor, The Ski Shop, Something New Boutique and William Kurtz, Ltd.

Major sponsors were The Broadmoor, KKTV 11 News, Classic Homes, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Children's Hospital Colorado, Creative Gold Jewelry, El Pomar Foundation and Macy's.

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