Nine Years and Counting for Baby Strides

Dedicated to the tiniest, most precious patients, Team Baby Strides returns to support The Ottawa Hospital at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.  

This team was first formed in 2009 to support The Ottawa Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and consisted of RNs, physicians and respiratory therapists who worked in the NICU. Sarah Henderson, who took over the reigns as team captain in 2013, says the team continues to grow. "The team evolved over the years to also include families of NICU babies, and community supporters as well. " 

Every year, 1,300 sick and premature infants are born at The Ottawa Hospital, about 700 are admitted directly to the NICU. For Sarah the cause is close to her heart, as she's a registered nurse in the NICU. "We care for infants born at early as 22 weeks gestation (18 weeks early) until they are healthy enough to go home with their families. The NICU also stabilizes term infants in their first hours of life, who are born at TOH."  

For Sarah and her team, it's these little patients that drive them to return each year. "The spirit and fight found in these infantsis felt by every person who walks through the NICU. As a staff member who works closely with them, I'm inspired every day, and I'm always searching for a way to give more to them and their families." 

Team Baby Strides love to mark Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend a fundraising opportunity on top of an opportunity to exercise. "I'm not a runner by nature, but being surrounded by fellow athletes, and the crowds there to support us is really something to experience. For several years, several families with sick infants in the NICU have gone down to the course to cheer on our team with signsand so much enthusiasm. You really can't get any better than that!" 

When it comes to fundraising, Team Baby Strides has had great success by turning to social media. Sarah says so many family and friends want to support the work we do in the NICU. "Our team members have the greatest fundraising success when they really personalize their campaign for their life." But Sarah adds, she also likes to get crafty. "I am a creative person, so I usually pick a handmade itemI can make and then sell. One year I made 35 spring wreaths, and sold them in support of my fundraising efforts, making over $500. Members have organized Zumba and fitness classes, held parties, and bake sales, all with great success!" 

Sarah understands the important role that each of us plays in improving patient care and research at The Ottawa Hospital. “Together, we can make a real difference. Not only is it easy to fundraise for The Ottawa Hospital through Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, it’s something you can feel great about doing too.”