Robin and Ryan Nigh remember long nights spent reading to their twin sons, Ryder and Asher, when they were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Franciscan Health Crown Point.
Now 3 years old, the boys returned to the place they began their lives, wearing superhero shirts to help make a special delivery. On April 12, the family brought 490 children’s books to be given to others spending long days and nights with their children in the NICU.
“We read every night as a family up here,” Robin said. “Asher came home a week early and we even read on facetime.”
Ryder ended up staying 45 days in the NICU, being treated with chest tubes for a hole in his lung. “It was a rough go. These nurses are like family,” Robin said. “I don’t believe our kids would be here without them, so we owe them a lot.”
Understanding the comfort that reading became, the Schererville family decided to raise money to purchase books for other families with children in the NICU. Robin decided to post an offer on Facebook for family and friends. “For every $500 I got donated, Ryder could throw a pie in my face. We ended up raising $3,500,” Robin said.
Usborne Books & More, an independent children’s book publisher, matched half of the donation total, allowing the family to purchase the 490 books that were delivered to the hospital. Families with children in the NICU will be provided with the books upon admission, with the staff writing a note and signing the books before the baby goes home.
Franciscan Health Crown Point Family Birth Center Director Carrie Renschen said, “We’re so thankful for this generous gift from the Nigh family. We know that reading to newborns enhances bonding and has positive benefits in their development.”