COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado Springs teenager who is a self-described “NICU graduate” is hoping to help other premature babies and their families create memories to last a lifetime.
“Knowing that I was born early and lucky to be alive is a blessing to me and my family,” Aiden McKechnie told 11 News about his experience growing up and knowing he was a NICU baby.
Now 15-year-old McKechnie was born at just over 23 weeks, weighing in at one pound and seven ounces. He spent the first 137 days of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit, and for his Eagle Scout project, he decided he wanted to do something for children and their families going through similar experiences now.
“He’s come so far, but what a big, full circle moment to share this with other families,” Aiden’s mom Karla McKechnie told 11 News, “and hopefully give hope to them as well.”McKechnie raised money for and created customization boards for families experiencing their own NICU graduations and donated them to the NICU at Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs in November.
The staff at the hospital, some of which were there during Aiden’s own stay in the NICU, said it was exciting to see how far he’s come.
“He not only does well, he exceeds in every aspect of his life,” NICU Educator Sharon Enoch said. “To see him go from just over a pound and born at 23 weeks to the amazing young man he’s become... it’s incredible.”
Enoch said stories like Aiden’s are inspiring for families with children currently in the NICU, and his project serves as just another way he can give them some hope. Read the full story...