Pa. couple crafts care packages for NICU babies and their families

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, May 8, 2023
Pa. couple crafts care packages for NICU babies and their families
After losing one of their newborn twin daughters, the Sharkey family created a nonprofit to help other families in the NICU.

FLOURTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Our daughters were due March 8 of 2011," said Martha Sharkey. "And it was Tuesday November 9, I'll never forget the day, something just didn't feel right."

Sharkey and her husband, Paul, welcomed two baby girls at only 23 weeks into the pregnancy.

"Claire weighed one pound two ounces, our daughter here. Her identical twin sister, Mary, weighed one pound four ounces," said Martha. "Sadly, our daughter Mary lost her fight after just 14 days with us."

It was one tragedy and one miracle for the Sharkey family as they came home with Claire after 103 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.

Aside from the support of medical staff working in the NICU, the Sharkeys felt largely alone in their journey. That's when they decided to make a difference.

"We reflected back on our extended journey and saw some gaps in care," said Martha. "And we wanted to figure out how we could give back how we could support other families so they didn't feel as alone as we did going through the NICU."

The family formed a nonprofit called, "Today is a Good Day," referring to a phrase they repeated for hope during their daughters' NICU journeys. Since 2014, they have aided families emotionally, financially, and delivered more than 10,000 care packages to others in their situation.

One of those moms was Porsche Pinder, who faced a similar circumstance to the Sharkey family. She also gave birth to twins at 23 weeks and only one survived. Today is a Good Day paid her a visit in the hospital.

"It gave me hope. It made me feel like I wasn't in it alone," said Pinder. "And the care packages that they gave me, it was a positive affirmation."

The Sharkeys have since given birth to a third daughter full-term, and together with Claire, they continue to operate their nonprofit to help give other families hope.

To learn more about Today is a Good Day and their various methods of support, visit their website.

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The South Jersey Mom and Baby Expo hosted groups like "Three Little Birds," which helps families navigate pregnancy and infant loss.