Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that Stockmens Bank sponsored the champagne welcome while Ivars Spons of Sovereignty Wines donated all the champagne.
A winter wonderland greeted guests at the Newborn Hope November Noel fundraiser held on Saturday evening, Nov. 23, at The Broadmoor’s International Hall.
The room was glittering with centerpieces of tall crystal branches entwined with red berries in clear glass vases. A curtain of shimmering strings of beads divided the dining area from the cocktail reception and silent auction offerings. Flutes of champagne were offered to revelers as they shopped, visited with each other, and admired the festive surroundings. The theme for the evening appeared to be “bling” as many of the women were dressed in gold or silver gowns reflecting the light. Stockmens Bank sponsored a champagne welcome while Ivars Spons of Sovereignty Windes donated the bubbly that got the party started.
Newborn Hope was founded in 1973 by Zoya Dickins Miller to draw attention statewide to raise necessary funds and to provide critical resources to help address the ongoing needs of Colorado premature babies and their families. One out of every 10 babies born in Colorado is premature. Although Miller passed away in June 2016, her compassion and vision continue to create ongoing positive changes and enhancements in neonatal healthcare. Since its inception, Newborn Hope has provided more than $5 million and 4 million volunteer hours.
“We do this work because we’re all in this together….We celebrate a community who are advocates of Newborn Hope,” said Allison Bradac, Newborn Hope’s executive director.
Bradac is very excited about the 2020 launch of the Preemie Family Assistance Fund that will provide grants for families needing ongoing services and care as they transition home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This funding is a key step to keeping current as well as looking into future needs.
Kacia Williamson was born four years ago at 23 weeks and received care in the NICU for the first 16 months of her life. Weighing just one pound at birth, she is an example of a newborn requiring extensive services in order to survive and thrive.
During hospitalization at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs and Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver, she was cuddled and held by volunteers and her family received assistance with food and clothing. Kacia’s care has involved a tracheotomy; treatment from gastroenterologists and ear, nose and throat specialists; as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
“The services are great, and I really appreciate Newborn Hope. I want to thank this organization for all they do for the preemies of Colorado,” said Kacia’s mother, Kimeha Fagan.
Board member Cori Levinson became involved with Newborn Hope because of her own experience as a preemie mom. Her son was born at 24 weeks. While he was in the NICU she received a gift card from Newborn Hope for Babies R Us.
After that, Levinson knew that she wanted to be supportive of others who are impacted by premature births. A year ago she became a volunteer, speaking at fundraising events.
“Newborn Hope is incredible!” she said. “I love working with a local nonprofit that impacts families dealing with prematurity. The community saved my son’s life, and is now part of our family.”
As the November Noel champagne reception came to a close, the more than 500 guests were seated in the dining area and feasted on a sumptuous meal of Mediterranean salad, red-wine braised short ribs and salmon with fennel glaze, and assorted delectable desserts. Following dinner, a heartfelt video program featured grateful recipients of services from Newborn Hope. Auctioneer Sam Milam worked the crowd with a special appeal for donations and a live auction.
Donors generously opened their wallets with pledges for monetary support and the purchase of items including wine, getaways and a puppy. Two 5-week-old Great Mountain Swiss pups, bred by Meggen Burghardt, were the hit of the evening. They agreeably welcomed hugs and belly rubs from enthralled guests, and eventually gamboled across the slippery floor as the bids came pouring in. The lucky high bidder will have the choice of a puppy from Burghardt’s next litter.
Bradac summed up the purpose of the evening: “Newborn Hope has given Colorado premature babies a healthier start since 1973 by providing prenatal education and support, and grants to organizations statewide whose missions align with ours. As prematurity remains the number one cause of death and disability in newborns, the work of Newborn Hope is critical and remains relevant to our community.”