On any given Wednesday, you can find Lou Ann Curry in one of her favorite places.
But it’s not what you think.
The 59-year-old Richardson mother spends hours every week in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
She volunteers to cuddle sick and premature infants, who’s own families are not able to be there.
“Cuddling a baby is the highlight of my week,” Curry said.
Curry has been a volunteer cuddler for five years at the hospital. Her own son, now 27, and her 5-year-old grandson both spent time in the NICU when they were infants.
“To know that someone is taking care of your child, loving your child, when you are not able to, is priceless,” Curry said.
It not only makes her feel good, but it’s also good for the babies and staff.
Research shows that infants who are cuddled have shorter hospital stays compared with those who were not held, and NICU supervisor Tammy Marnell believes it helps the nurses.
“A crying baby can escalate stress levels for everyone, especially the sick babies on ventilators. So when a crying baby is cuddled, it’s good for everyone,” Marnell said.
UPDATE [1.30.17]: While we are always actively accepting applications for new volunteers, at this time, we do not have a need for additional volunteers in our NICU. Volunteer assignments are determined by areas of greatest need at each of our facilities. If you are interested in becoming a part of a rewarding and fulfilling volunteer experience with our health care system, visit our website to apply to become a volunteer.