St. Luke's University Health Network


    • NICU at the Zoo Event Reunites NICU Graduates and Caregivers

NICU at the Zoo Event Reunites NICU Graduates and Caregivers

NICU at the Zoo Event Reunites NICU “Graduates” and Caregivers

Bethlehem, PA (6-28-2012) - On June 2, nearly 350 people gathered at Lehigh Valley Zoo… the crowd had something in common besides being in the same place, and that was either being a caregiver in St. Luke’s NICU or a parent, sibling or child who spent their first few days of life in a St. Luke’s NICU. St. Luke’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Parent / Staff Advisory Council hosted the event to reunite 2007-2008 “NICU graduates” with physicians, nurses and staff. The families enjoyed the sunny evening at the zoo, and the children sported faces painted by professional clowns. The NICU graduates paraded through the park lead by two curly-haired, white llamas and Lehigh Valley Zoo staff.

This first-time event at the Lehigh Valley Zoo reunited staff and families while providing a good opportunity for family fun, said Cindy Max, St. Luke’s VP of Operations. “Families and caregivers forge a very strong bond during the time that infants spend in the NICU,” Max said. “Being able to reconnect with very sick babies who have grown to be active three and four year olds was very rewarding for the physicians, nurses and other clinicians who cared for the NICU ‘graduates’.”

“Being able to thank the staff who made such a difference for our family was a great opportunity,” said Rob Avitabile chair of St. Luke’s NICU at the Zoo committee. “We were pleased that we were able to connect with other families, and we continue to find ways to support the families who are struggling right now with their child or children in the NICU.”

“We would like to thank the St. Luke’s NICU Parent / Staff Advisory Council for the wonderful organization of this event and the caring touches they provide for us at St. Luke’s,” said Barb Raab, BSN, RNC-Nic, NICU Family Support Specialist. “Additionally, we thank KingSpry law firm in particular for their financial support of our event, and the many in-kind contributors like Red Robin, Chik-Fil-A and Pepsi to help make this happen,” said Raab. “But, our heartfelt gratitude and admiration is extended to the parents of the St. Luke’s NICU graduates who entrust us every day with the care of their very ill infants.”

Channel 69 covered the event.

For more information about NICU care at St. Luke’s, please see:

Contact Information

Denise E. Rader
Director, Network Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network