NICU Team Celebrates Its Many Graduates

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It was pretty close to being the happiest place on earth, as dozens of children - decked out in Disney character costumes - descended on Green Valley Administration Center for the activity-packed 33rd annual NICU Reunion with its Disneyland theme.

Many of the children - ranging in age from just a few months to preteen years - did a great job of dressing for the day's theme. Spotted among the crowd were Captain Hook and Peter Pan, several sets of twinnie Minnies, an array of Disney princesses, Frozen's Elsa and Anna, and Woody the cowboy, who rode around the venue in his specially decorated wagon.

"We wanted to come last year but it was canceled because of the fires," noted Tamara Kinman, who was attending with her daughter, Lillyana, now 3 years old and dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. "I spent a week in the ICU and Lillyana was in the NICU," she recalled. "It was really something."

The children and their parents were encouraged to take part in games and activities hosted by students from several Fairfield and Vacaville high schools, according to co-organizer Megan King, Clinical Nurse IV in the NICU.

Moving from station to station, guests could choose to have their face painted, or paint a pumpkin, to have sparkling pipe cleaners woven into their hair, to take part in the Princess Ball Toss, or make a lei. For some of the littlest participants, it was simply enough to play with balloons or the ball toss.

Along the way there were plenty of happy greetings and hugs from NICU staff members who recognized their tiny charges.

Volunteers served up pizza and popcorn, and many families moved to the patio area outside the conference rooms to enjoy a pleasant afternoon.

"We easily had more than 70 families with us today," Megan said, adding that the event couldn't have been possible without the help of Anna Tiss, Clinical Nurse IV, Tiffany Sawyer, NICU unit clerk, as well as many staff members and physicians from the NICU.