PictUre it. Buffalo, NY. 2014.

Born September 8, 2014, at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, Cameron William Hill was born at just 25 weeks gestational age, weighing only 1lb, 9oz at birth. He was a very special gift to us. An active baby, even in the womb, and very alert, he was dubbed “feisty”, “tough” and “Superman” by his Nurses, Doctors, and Practitioners, family, friends and onlookers. Cameron would unfortunately see many complications of preterm birth. These would include chronic lung disease, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Retinopathy of Prematurity, MRSA, Chylothorax, Pulmonary Hypertension and constant operations and procedures. 

After 161 days of fighting a good fight, Cameron passed away peacefully, with his parents at his bedside, on Feb. 15.  Though his days were short in number, he leaves a remembrance of toughness, resilience and purposefulness, his story inspiring others to believe and to fight on.   

When Cameron was born, I began to live my worst nightmare. After 25 weeks of a healthy pregnancy, I was told I would need to have an emergency C-section immediately. I was shocked and terrified. This was my first child. What happened next, however, was my real nightmare. Immediately after birth, before I could hold, kiss or even touch him, my son was taken away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). To that point, I had never even heard of the NICU. I could only reach my hand into the small opening of his incubator and touch his hand. This was my first – and for a long time, only – interaction with my newborn child. And I had to face the reality of going home from the hospital, upon release, without my baby. The doctors informed me that my newborn had about 60% chance of survival due to possible complications of his premature birth. And, exactly 161 days later, my nightmare worsened. I held my son Cameron in my arms as he took his last breath. My newborn child passed away due to complications of premature birth.

It seems unfathomable, but each day, a new mom gives birth to a baby preterm, and has to face the reality of baby’s NICU stay and the shortened chance of their survival. Life as a NICU parent is emotional and agonizing. You feel alone, and helpless and hopeless as you watch your child fight for their life. And, in some cases, you fight a hard battle, only to feel you’ve lost due to infant death. Most families have no idea where to turn, how to cope or what resources are available for them during these times. Our goal is to change that.
— Kimberly D. Clarke