What’s Working: NICU volunteer donates a million dollars to local baby unit

What's Working

MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — Who would have ever thought that rocking babies at a local neonatal unit would turn into a million dollar donation?

That’s exactly what happened at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

Eighty-one-year-old Louis Mapp started rocking babies inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) a year and a half ago. Every Tuesday, he would rock, feed, or burp, any baby who needed loving arms. The NICU regularly asks volunteers to rock babies whose parents can’t be there 24 hours per day. Quickly, Mapp became addicted to the snuggles.

“I love to look at their expressions when I rock them. This one is smiling at me right now, and it just makes your day to do that,”  Mapp said.

Mapp is very impressed by the medical staff in the NICU. The nurses and support staff help thousands of babies every year thrive.  He’s heard countless stories from parents who are so grateful for the unit. Parents like Amy Hyde, a Spanish Fort High School teacher, whose water broke at twenty-one weeks. She was admitted to the hospital and gave birth to her baby boy, Trey Hyde, at twenty-six weeks.

“I can’t can’t express enough gratitude. I truly believe they saved my babies’ life, and if we hadn’t been here, he might not be here,” Hyde shared with News 5’s Devon Walsh.

Everyone, including Nurse Manager, Renee Rogers, was shocked by Mapp’s donation.

“For him to come with his time alone is fabulous,  but then the donation!  It was massively surprising,” Rogers said.

Mapp says he was happy to give the money to a place that “has his heart.”

“We wanted something long after we are gone, something to support these precious people and their families,” Mapp said.

Mapp and his wife only had one stipulation for how the money would be spent. They wanted the medical staff on the floor to make the decision about where it would go. Right now, they have decided to purchase Leo Beds. These are beds for the tiniest babies. These are babies who weigh less than a pound, up until about a pound and a half. These beds are $50,000 a piece.  The entire million dollars has been placed in an endowment, and a portion of it will be used in the NICU every year.

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