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NICU Baby Grads Reunite with Fun, Games and Songs


Sarah and Adam Mannis attend the 3rd Annual NICU reunion. Their 20-month-old daughter Milcah was born at 35 weeks and spent five days in the NICU.

Brian and Terri Kinder perform their original children’s songs to an audience at the 2014 UAMS NICU Reunion.

Erica and Christopher Davis pose for a family photo with their son Ethan, 5, and their 7-month-old triplets, Khloe, Katie and Karson, who spent nearly two months in the NICU.

Ethan Davis, 5, sings along with the Kinders during their concert at the 3rd Annual NICU Reunion.

Brian and Terri Kinder perform their original children’s songs to an audience at the 2014 UAMS NICU Reunion.


April 15, 2014 | “I like being a kid,” sings 5-year-old Ethan Davis during a live concert at the third annual UAMS neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) reunion at the Scimitar Shrine Temple in Little Rock. His parents, Erica and Christopher, sit nearby busy with their triplets.

The Davis family is no stranger to the NICU. Ethan spent one month there when he was born. The triplets arrived 14 weeks early and spent two months in NICU.  Now seven months old, Khole and Katie giggle and coo in their father’s lap, while Karson sits content in his car seat.

“I’d say we had a good experience,” Erica Davis said.

“Some of the nurses treated our kids as if they were their own,” said Christopher Davis. The Davis’ are glad those long days in the NICU are behind them and glad to be in their Newport home as a happy and healthy family of six.

Several other families echo the Davis’ description of their time in the NICU. There were lots of hugs and happy tears at the event. Many of the children spent several weeks in the NICU. The nurses and families often build lifelong relationships. The reunion is one way they all catch up and show how much the little ones have grown.

“You'd be so amazed to see them when they're a year old and to see how well they do because they really are small when they get here,” said Diane Rushin, R.N., a nurse in the UAMS NICU and one of the event’s organizers.

The third annual NICU Reunion was loaded with activities for children, including games, face painting, a photo booth, a live parrot and Mr. Scruffles, a dog from UAMS’ Special Pets Offering Therapy (SPOT) Program. Brian and Terri Kinder, a popular children’s singing duo, performed in front of an excited crowd of young children who sang, danced and clapped along to their catchy songs. Ballet dancers, some as young as three, came from Dancer’s Corner, a dance instruction studio in Little Rock, to entertain the crowd. Young audience members gathered on the dance floor along with the dancers for their final performance. The NICU at UAMS combines advanced technology with trained health care professionals to provide specialized treatment for the tiniest of patients in a patient- and family-centered environment. The NICU at UAMS averages more than 1,500 admissions each year.

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