Fifteen-month-old Quinton Bowler is a happy and curious child with two very loving parents — Caitlin Brown and Cameron Bowler.
Looking at the family today, it would be hard to believe that little Quinton was admitted into Victoria General Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for seven weeks after being born.
“It was about 18 weeks into the pregnancy when we found that … essentially his liver was outside his body,” said Bowler.
Now, the family has chosen to give back to the NICU with the Little Warriors Library — a that library parents of children in the NICU can use to read to their little ones. The library is a fitting gift for the family, as both parents read to Quinton every day as a way of bonding.
Bowler said every morning after Quinton has his bottle he points to the book shelf and “demands his post-breakfast book.”
“Having a child in the NICU can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time and it can be very difficult to bond with your child…when they’re in an incubator,” Bowler said. “This is a really good way of getting parents talking and getting that connection early.”
The NICU at Victoria General Hospital cares for about 530 infants each year with each one staying an average of 15 days in the unit.
Infants in the NICU include premature infants and whose experiencing complications from cardiac, respiratory, ophthalmological or auditory issues.
Over the last five years, donors have funded 65 per cent of the equipment needs in the NICU. About $590,000 from donors have gone towards purchases like incubators, infant warmers, CPAP non-invasive infant ventilators and more.
Mark Blandford, the clinical director at VGH, said the hospital is grateful for the family’s contribution to the NICU.
“The donation of books is small on the financial side but huge on the impact side,” Blandford said. “Our sincere thanks to Quinton’s family whose generous gift will help bring comfort and hope to infants and their parents/guardians who are fighting alongside their Little Warriors.”
Blandford noted that the NICU is where many infants start their life and that the library program is a great way to contribute to their beginning and give them the ability to listen to their parents.
“There have been many other parents going through this situation,” Blandford said. “I think they’ll see if they come through this unit that they’re not alone.”