10-year old's special donation brightens Meriter Hospital's NICU - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

10-year old's special donation brightens Meriter Hospital's NICU

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Families in the NICU at Meriter Hospital recently found themselves on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.
Savannah Aroonsavath recently celebrated her 10th birthday and collected quite a bit of money for presents.

But she didn't spend any of the money on herself.

Savannah has a younger sister who was born prematurely in November and, as a result, spent roughly one month in Meriter Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before she could go home to her family.

"It was actually really scary because you don't know if your child is going to live or if something bad might happen to her," Savannah said, recalling her sister's month in the NICU.

"I would never wish it on any parent," said Savannah's mother Linda.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, to have a baby and not know what every day might bring," Linda said.

Savannah said she wanted to help other families going through a similar, stressful experience in the NICU.

She spent all her birthday money on assembling 27 gift bags for NICU mothers. Each bag contains a toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion, granola bars, tissues and other basic essentials.

"It really made my day," said Shaneka Hayes, who received one of the gift bags.

Hayes's daughter is currently in the NICU after being born roughly three months early.

"It's really stressful," she said. "Some nights I'll spend the night here with her and I don't have a toothbrush or anything, so that's what really made this special."

"It was just a nice gesture," Hayes said. "Especially coming from a little girl."

In addition to the care packages, Savannah's money also went towards roughly 60 clothing items for NICU babies.

"I feel really proud," Savannah said. "It's my first time ever doing something like this. I feel really good."

"I can't be any prouder of her," Linda Aroonsavath said. "She's my one child that's got a big heart. She probably, by what she did, brought that sense of encouragement, hope and belief to parents here that I know I needed as well."

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