Kingston father running to raise money for web cameras at Kingston neonatal ICU
KINGSTON, ONT. -- One Kingston father is trying to raise money for the neonatal intensive care unit at Kingston General Hospital, so that the hospital can buy web cameras to allow parents of tiny patients can see their children any time of day.
Right now, Patt Kerr can only see his newborn daughter for a few hours a day.
Hannah sits in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Kingston General Hospital. She was born premature on February 25, 2021, at just 1 lbs. 12oz, from complications during pregnancy.
Currently, under strict COVID-19 rules, he and his wife, and parents like them, only have limited time with their child.
“It’s devastating you’re not with your child as much as you want to be. You want to be there every minute of every day with our daughter and right now me and my wife are getting six hours between the both of us.”
To change that, Kerr is fundraising to get the NICU web cameras, to help future parents be able to see their child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
He’s with the Canadian military, and says he’ll run one kilomeetre for every day Hannah is in the hospital, with his ruck sack on his back.
“It’s heavy,” he says holding the pack for CTV News Ottawa in an interview. “Sixty pounds in it right now. So, I’ve rucked with heavier.”
It won’t be easy, as Hannah has been in the intensive care unit for seven weeks already, and it will be a few more before she’s strong enough to come home.
“Right now, we’re sitting at 45 kilometres,” Kerr says of the time Hannah has been in the hospital. “We’re thinking she’s about halfway-ish to being home, so we’re looking to upwards of 85 to 90 to 100 kilometres to get her home.”
Cathie Calarco is with the University Kingston Hospitals Foundation, which is raising the money. Calarco says the cameras are a window for parents at a stressful time.
“The cameras would allow the parents to stay connected to their baby either when they have to go home to other children that might be home, or they might have to go to work so it’s really about keeping families connected,” she explains.
More than 20 cameras, one for each bed, would cost upwards of $100,000 says Calarco.
“The web cams are a speciality medical grade equipment, so they are actual medical equipment,” she says. “The cameras are actually mounted in the isolette and they are aimed at the baby; they allow a bird's eye view into the isolette.”
Kerr says he’ll continue to raise the money, as long as Hannah remains in the NICU.
“It’s all for a good cause and it’s for the families and everyone in the NICU, not just me and my wife.”