WESTHAMPTON—The 4th Annual Caitlin Elizabeth Russell Foundation Golf Classic will be held on Monday, Sept. 14, at the Deerwood Country Club in Westhampton, one-quarter mile off exit 5 of the New Jersey Turnpike.
The Caitlin Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charity dedicated to raising awareness of premature birth and raising money to help premature babies and their families.
This charity was started 3 ½ years ago after Chris and Michelle Russell suffered the tragic loss of their daughter Caitlin. She lived only four months after suffering numerous complications due to premature birth. “Most premature births happen with little or no warning. Arriving at a neonatal intensive care unit is an overwhelming experience that leaves parents feeling helpless and ill prepared,” stated Chris Russell.
Born 1 lb. 7 oz. and 12 inches long, Caitlin fought every day of her life, and after 130 days she weighed 6 lbs. and was able to breathe on her own. Unfortunately, she developed an intestinal blockage, and after surviving a nine-hour operation, succumbed the next day.
“The harsh reality of the premature birth of our first grandchild is an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” said Mayor Richard J. Gerbounka, a member of the Caitlin Foundation’s Board of Directors.
This charity, started in April 2006, donated $50,000 to the March of Dimes. In 2007, the Board of Directors chose a new direction for the Caitlin Foundation — a grass roots effort to directly aid premature babies and their families at the very hospital Caitlin spent her entire life in. Recently, the Foundation donated $30,000 to the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital to directly benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Bristol Myers-Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick.
The Caitlin Foundation purchased an interactive learning tool for parents called NICU Knowledge that can be accessed at their child’s bedside to learn more about the medical issues facing their child in the NICU. The unit also has a feature that will allow parents to view video of their child from home or work.
In addition, the foundation has set up a petty cash fund to help less fortunate families afford transportation costs to and from the hospital to see their babies. Finally, each new family who has had a child in the NICU receives a Welcome Bag, and those who need to stay overnight with a critically ill newborn receive an Overnight Bag with basic items they may need for their unexpected stay.
To learn more about the Caitlin Foundation, visit www.caitlinrussellfoundation.org
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