`Perfect gift' reciprocated; Family of preemies gives over $15K to UMass unit.

Byline: Donna Boynton David H. Perry got the perfect gift for a family man. A colleague and friend gave him a picture frame to display photos of his wife, his two grown daughters and his two sets of grandchildren. Underneath each picture is a button that, when pressed, offers a prerecorded message. The button he keeps pressing most often is under the picture of the youngest grandchildren, 5-1/2-month-old twins Mikaela and Kyle. Just to hear them cry. "I never thought I would hear those babies cry," said Mr. Perry, executive vice president and senior loan officer of UniBank. "They like to cry, and I like to listen to them." The twins were born in July, four months premature, and their first few months were a struggle to survive in UMass Memorial Medical Center's Newborn Intensive Care Unit. "This is the best gift a guy could get," Mr. Perry said. "The NICU gave the gift of life." Last week, the Perry family, UniBank officials and close friends and business associates offered a gift in return - a $15,400 donation, raised in honor of Mr. Perry's 60th birthday, to UMass Memorial Medical Center's NICU that will be used to purchase vital medical equipment to treat premature infants. The twins were born to Heidi and Michael Woll of Millbury. Mrs. Woll was due to deliver the twins Nov. 5 but went into labor in mid-July. UMass doctors tried to stem the contractions and delay the delivery because the babies weren't fully developed, but at just over 24 weeks, the babies were born via Caesarean section July 21. Mikaela weighed 1 lb., 4 oz., and her brother, Kyle, weighed 1 lb., 9 oz. The family has a photo of Mr. Woll's wedding ring next to newborn Mikaela's hand; her hand could fit through the ring. Babies born at 23 to 25 weeks are considered extremely premature and, for medical professionals, are the hardest babies to care for, said Dr. Stuart A. Weisberger, a neonatologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at UMass Medical School. The NICU is a 43-bed division of UMass Memorial Medical Center, with 27 beds for intensive care cases and 16 beds for continuing care. The NICU cares for 500 to 550 infants each year. The unit opened 30 years ago and in 1996 moved to its current location, headed by Dr. Frank Bednarek. The unit has six rooms for parents so they can be with their children. The unit is "not only a community resource but a regional resource," Dr. Weisberger said. Typically, babies born that prematurely stay in the hospital for three or four months...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT