Gift of Life Celebrates the Stars Born at Fairview Hospital

Mother/daughter duo, Katie Reidy and Debbie Norton, co-chairs of the Annual Gift of Life cel-ebration with their husbands Bill Reidy, Community West Foundation Life Trustee and Brad Norton.

Several hundred guests gathered Friday, September 6 at Avon Oaks Country Club for a late-summer evening of dinner, cocktails and auctions with proceeds to benefit the most fragile babies and their parents of our communities, born at Fairview Hospital.

This annual event, sponsored by Community West Foundation, makes a powerful statement in support of infants and life. Debbie Norton, co-chair, joined with Dr. Neil Smith, President Fairview Hospital, to emphasize the commitment of the Gift of Life committee – a group of devoted parents, grandparents, family, friends and hospital staff, dedicated to supporting healthy mothers and babies in our communities.

The Gift of Life movement was started by Debbie and Brad Norton 20 years ago, when their daughters graduated from Fairview Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to grow into healthy and happy lives. The initiative has made a continuing commitment to ensure that babies admitted to the NICU at Fairview Hospital are provided the most state-of-the-art equipment, staff training and programs to fulfill the needs of our most fragile babies.

NICU team at Fairview Hospital.

David T. Dombrowiak, Community West Foundation President and CEO and his wife, Mar-yAnn with Neil Smith, D.O., President, Fairview Hospital and Cynthia Bacon and her husband, Mark Bacon, Community West Foundation Board Member.

Outreach has included community events to provide proper car seat safety and installation, educational forums and sleep sacks for families in high-risk areas continuing education for NICU staff on specialty infant services, and a family assistance program to help alleviate extended stay expenses.

Dr. Rebecca Starck shared the commitment of an opiate treatment and prevention program for new mothers at Avon Hospital. “Opiate addiction is a medical condition no different than high blood pressure or diabetes,” she said. “We need to approach it in that way.” So, a new program serving at-risk mothers is now in place to help identify and assist risks and prevention including optional optiate-free deliveries.

A powerful testimony from a mother of three, who has now been free of opiate addiction for four years thanks to this commitment, underscored the potential of these services.

A generous gift from Dworkin & Bernstein Co., LPA, was followed by a further pledge of support by attorney Patrick J. Perotti. Funds from Lawyers Give Back – a program founded by Dworkin & Bernstein – are distributed by the Painsesville law firm from settlement decisions to benefit community causes.

The introduction of Dr. Amy Stephens, Chair, Dept. of OB/GYN, Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, Nora Knipper, Clinical Manager, Mother Baby Unit, Kristan Schoen, Asst. Nurse Manager, NICU, with special thanks to Marla Scholte, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, served as a further statement of commitment to NICU excellence.

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