2015 was an amazing year for the Brave Beginnings family. Throughout the year, the overall request from our grant applicants was for over 7 million dollars, which further proved to us the need is there for hospitals to receive funds to purchase top­of­the­line technology to keep preemies alive and thriving. In 2015, there were 22 grant recipients, and a total of $892,129 funded, all of which went to hospitals in need of crucial life­saving equipment for preemies surviving in their NICUs. We love visiting the hospitals we work with, getting to know their staff, and working with them on the ground to help save preemies’ lives. In our first blog post of 2016, we thought we’d take a look back at four of those hospital visits, profiling what we learned, how we were able to help add to and improve their neonatal technology, and the staff we got to know along the way.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center San Jose, California


At SCVMC, 3,500 babies are born annually, and 300 of those babies are admitted to the NICU. Brave beginnings was pleased to award $50,000 grant to the hospital, which was used to purchase a Breast Milk Analyzer for their NICU. The best food for a baby is human breast milk, and the analyzer affords the ability to determine the nutritional content of breast milk, to see what kind of and how many nutrients are in the breast milk that go directly to the baby. Once the milk has been analyzed, doctors and nurses can then decide if the breast milk needs to be supplemented in order to sufficiently provide nutrients for the baby.

Here’s some of the staff we got to know on our visit:

Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
Columbia, South Carolina


Brave Beginnings partnered with Regal Cinemas to provide a matching grant of $19,000 for this hospital to purchase a brand new Airborne 750i Transport Incubator, which replaced their 12­year­old unit. The latest in cutting edge technology is crucial to ensuring the survival of preemies in the NICU, so we were pleased to afford them the opportunity to make such a purchase. According to the hospital, a specialized transport incubator “provides a warm, safe environment for a baby up to 15 pounds, and has a built­in ventilator to help babies breathe air or pure oxygen.” In tandem, the unit also monitors the baby’s heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level. When their youngest babies are born, they require specialized attention, in which minutes and seconds count towards attempting to stabilize the newborn. Having the portable incubator ensures a safe transport from the delivery room to the NICU, seamlessly aiding in stabilizing the baby in its first moments of life. This technology makes all the difference when time is of the essence in saving a baby’s life. You can see a picture of this amazing piece of life­saving technology below:


We were so happy to meet the staff at Palmetto Health and to provide them with the funds to purchase what they needed.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital  Saint Louis, MO
St. Louis Children’s Hospital Saint Louis, MO

This past September, we partnered with Wehrenberg Theatres to provide $50,000 to the hospital to purchase a High Frequency Oscillating Flight Transport Isolette. Before we funded this for the hospital, they were working with a 10 year old unit that was being used to transport newborns in need of serious care from rural areas in the area and in other states, including Iowa, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, and Arkansas. When in transport, it’s crucial that a newborn in need is provided with the best and most state­of­the­art care to be kept stable, and the new machine we donated provided much less stress to the lungs of tender newborns. One of the most special parts of our visit was that while we were there, a baby was brought in from a rural area using the transport unit we funded. After speaking with the nurse in the NICU unit once the baby was stabilized, we learned that the baby, given the condition it was in, likely would have passed away if that had not been able to transport it to the hospital with the unit we provided. You can see a picture of this transport unit below:4

Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids, MI
Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids, MI

For our final visit highlight, we have Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. In October of last year, we partnered with Goodrich Quality Theaters to give $26,579 to provide the hospital with an Oscillator Ventilator. This piece of technology is a critical component to the NICU, and can reduce ventilator­associated lung injury by providing a constant distending pressure and normalizing the end expiratory lung volumes. Previous to our donation, in 2014, the hospital had to spend $96,616 just in renting equipment because they didn’t have what they needed available to help their preemies. We were happy to be able to provide the NICU team at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with the equipment they need to help the little ones that come into the unit alive, healthy, and strong. You can see what the ventilator looks like in the picture of our team with the hospital staff above.

The Brave Beginnings team is looking forward to continuing to help hospitals in the United States provide the best care to preemies. Here’s to a healthy 2016!