One-year-old Adelaide Merren spent the first 23 days of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Cayman Islands Hospital. Now, her family is giving back to the unit.

To celebrate the little girl’s first birthday on June 26, her mother Jernaye Merren requested friends and family donate to the unit, in lieu of gifts for Adelaide.

Among the people who donated gifts to the newborn babies in need of intensive medical attention in the unit were Ailian and Sean Evans, parents to baby Nolan, who lost his fight against a congenital heart defect on Jan. 25 this year, at the age of 7 months and 3 days.

Adelaide and Nolan had been neighbors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, both fighting health difficulties at the same time after being born prematurely.

“Nolan was dear to our hearts and through our journeys, our families have become close friends,” Mrs. Merren said. “In honor of Nolan and his family, we agreed to share the donations with the Cayman Heart Fund and look forward to supporting the Evans and other heart families in the future.”
Approximately $650 worth of gifts were donated to the NICU, and a check for $1,360 was donated in memory and honor of Nolan to the Cayman Heart Fund.

Since Nolan’s death, his parents have raised more than $20,000 to go toward children with congenital heart defect, which means those born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels.

The Evans family stated in a press release: “To say we are extremely grateful to precious little Adelaide’s family is an understatement. This was such an amazing gesture. The funds raised for both the NICU and CHF are so very important for the critical healthcare of local newborn babies.

“This effort and other successful fundraising efforts such as June’s KIDFEST will help CHD babies and their families in Cayman as well as help to raise CHD awareness locally.”

KIDFEST, a fundraising event held in honor of Nolan Evans, was held in June at Pedro St. James.

The money raised went to Hart 4 Hearts and the Cayman Heart Fund.

Coordinator for the Cayman Heart Fund, Colleen Mellott, expressed gratitude to all the friends and family members that donated gifts and money in lieu of presents to Adelaide on her first birthday.

“We are most grateful to the family for organizing this very generous donation and also for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease and congenital heart defect,” Ms. Mellott said in the press release. “This amazing donation will go towards the Hart 4 Hearts program. The H4H program is the paediatric arm of the CHF, which raises public awareness and provides financial assistance to families in Cayman when their child is born with CHD, assisting them with expenses associated with urgent paediatric cardiology healthcare.”

Registered Neonatal Nurse Kerry Bennett-Reed noted that the donations will benefit other babies similar to Adelaide and Nolan in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“We are very grateful to Adelaide’s family for the generous donation,” she said. “Gifts like these make NICU life just a little more comfortable for our tiny babies and it is heartwarming to think that the memories of baby Adelaide’s stay in NICU provoked such a lovely idea. Also, a big thank you to Adelaide’s family and friends who gave so generously as they celebrated her first birthday.”

For more information on the NICU Unit and Maternity Services, contact 244-2841 or 244-2842. For more information on the Cayman Heart Fund or the Hart 4 Hearts program, call 916-6324 or email [email protected]

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