Michael's Feat helps seriously ill newborns in Monmouth, Ocean counties
Michael's Feat helps seriously ill newborns in Monmouth and Ocean counties, and it was born out of a baby’s short, but impactful life.
“You don't think about dressing yourself, feeding yourself, you just care about the health of your baby,” says Dana Puharic.
Dana and Adam Puharic know the emotional toll families face when their newborns are in the NICU.
“The absolute kindness and support we got from the nurses and doctors at Monmouth Medical, allowed us to get our son home, and spend those quality moments with him.”
For Dana and Adam, that time, 83 hours with their son Michael, was all they had.
“I was told my first child was diagnosed with something called Trisomy 13, which they said was incompatible with life, a devastating diagnosis,” says Dana.
The diagnosis, and losing Michael 18 years ago, was the start of his, and their, incredible feat.
“At Michael's funeral, we decided to collect donations to give back to the community who helped us,” says Dana. “By the funeral, we had $10,000 in a bank account.”
Now 18 years later, the organization has raised more than $2 million, helping families like Tara Cadet's.
“My son was born at 26 weeks and he spent three months in the NICU here,” says Tara.
Tara spent a lot of time in a room made for NICU families made possible by Michael's Feat.
There are lockers for belongings they can't take into the sterile NICU, snacks, and a place to decompress.
“You're removed from all the bells and whistles and the loud noises in the NICU, and it just gives you time to think,” says Dana.
The organization also steps in with gas cards, meals, medical equipment, coverage for insurance gaps and valuable emotional support at a time where families feel helpless.
“When families are here, they feel like, life still goes on outside the NICU,” says Dana. “So we felt it important to bring life's important events and milestones here.”
Michael's Feat even brings Santa to the babies during the holidays.
“Michael, in 83 hours, did more in this life, made more of an impact in this life, than many of us do in 83 years,” says Dana.
Michael's Feat is run primarily through volunteers, the majority of them being NICU families who were moved by the help Michael's Feat gave to them.