Foundation stands up for premature babies at Community Hospital

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TRYING OUT THE new bench with the Splant family (Kim and Phil, third and fourth from left, standing, and Nathan, seated center) are (left to right) Kirsten Utley, Vivian Zamarron and Kelly Spomar. 

One of Community Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s (NICU) smallest babies has returned and left a big mark on the hearts of the healthcare workers at the place where he was born. Kim and Phil Splant have donated a commemorative bench to the hospital, made of 400 pounds of recycled plastic, in honor of their son Nathan on behalf of all premature babies.

When Nathan C. Splant arrived 15 weeks before his due date on January 10, 2004 in the NICU, he weighed less than 2 pounds and was 12-inches long. Today, at 15 years old, he is a healthy teenager. Parents Phil and Kim of St. John, have never forgotten the healthcare team who helped to make their dream of having a child a reality.

“We are forever grateful to Community Hospital’s NICU and all that they do for premature babies and families,” Phil Splant said. “The foundation looks forward to many more years of giving back.”

Today, the Splant family continues to find ways to enhance the lives of those touched by prematurity through their foundation named after their son, the Nathan C. Splant Foundation. The foundation benefits local premature infants and children and their families through assistance, grant programs and research on premature births.

“The bench donations were started a couple of years ago,” according to Kim Splant. “Each year, we select a different hospital to donate a bench. The bench is a collection of plastic caps that is built through the aid of Lake County Solid Waste Management, by Green Tree Plastics group. The bench will be located outdoors near the hospital’s north entrance at Parkview Tower.”

In addition to the bench donation, the Splant Foundation also delivered a check for $1,000 to the nurses who helped Nathan in his earliest days, not only survive, but thrive.

Community Hospital NICU/Pediatrics Nurse Manager Kelly Spomar said the funding will be used to enhance the developmental environment for the hospital’s NICU babies.

Through the Pediatric Therapy program at Community Hospital, families of premature infants and at-risk infants also receive follow-up assistance for their child who is at higher risk for or is found to have any developmental delays. Therapeutic care is very important during a child’s first three years when they are growing quickly and learning new skills.

This specialized multi-disciplinary team includes a neonatologist, neonatal nurse and physical and occupational therapists. Working together, these healthcare professionals evaluate each infant’s development and recommend ways to manage any developmental concerns as they arise. This is in addition to routine well visits to the child’s pediatrician.

“Our family couldn’t have done it without the dedication and compassion of all those involved with Nathan’s recovery-the doctors, nurses, therapists and special program aides,” Kim Splant said.

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