Foundation provides support to parents with children in NICU

ABINGTON, Pa. (WPVI) -- A local couple is helping parents with babies in the NICU, or neonatal ICU.

They found themselves in that difficult situation four years ago. And while they faced tragedy, they say they were also given a miracle.

Four-and-a-half-year-old Claire Sharkey loves playing board games with her parents, dancing and Disney.

"She might be a doctor. She loves Doc McStuffins so we're very blessed. She is really exceeding expectations," said Claire's mom.

Expectations or the prognosis for Claire when she was born was grim. She and her twin sister Mary were born early at 23 weeks.

Martha and Paul says the babies were rushed to the NICU.

"Claire was our first born. She was twin A and she was 1 lb., 2 oz. and Mary was born at one lb. 4 oz.," Paul said.

The Sharkey's say their time in the NICU was like a roller coaster.

"Because you have good days and bad days, ups and downs," said Paul.

Paul says medical teams worked to save the girls, but he and Martha felt helpless.

And then Mary passed away at two weeks.

But they say meeting Sam, a thriving boy who was once also a 23-week-old-preemie, gave them hope.

And after 102 days in the hospital, Claire went home.

Now they're counting their blessings and helping other parents thrust into the NICU journey with their foundation Today is a Good Day.

They give parents a journal for medical notes, a bracelet with the message 'One Day at a Time,' and they offer emotional support.

"We can talk to parents who have experienced loss as well as babies who have excelled and done well," said Martha.

And just as Sam's parents brought him to the hospital, they bring Claire to meet parents and show that miracles can happen.

Claire still has some hurdles to overcome but she is healthy.

Right now, the Sharkeys work with the NICU at Abington Memorial Hospital and they hope to expand to more hospitals soon.

Martha is expecting another baby girl, and she is close to full-term.

For more information on Today Is A Good Day Foundation, visit:
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