Paisley’s Closet – Saying Thanks in a Small Way

June 15, 2015 4:14 pm

Linen Closet Dedicated to Former Patient and Her Family for Their Continued Support

group posed, resized

From left to right: Nancy Oelerich, Emily Pokorny, Mandy Dobrowolski with her children, Paisley and Ollie, and Melissa Huisken, PCA.

As the NICU staff care for the smallest patients of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, staff ensures these small patients are as comfortable as they can be during their hospital stay, often using their personal funds to make blankets and name cards and other little niceties for the babies while under their care.

Mandy Dobrowolski wanted a way to say thanks to the NICU staff for the care they had given her daughter, Paisley, who was born at just 28 weeks and two days gestation on May 26, 2013, so she created the event Running for Covers in 2013. The event’s moniker plays on the request for fun and festive blankets used as the primary means of entrance fee. The event has since raised hundreds of blankets, preemie clothing and other items that the NICU gives to patients to make their stay more friendly and comfortable.

During the Running for Covers 2014 event, NICU nurses Sarah Vollink and Emily Pokorny devised the idea to name the linen closet ‘Paisley’s Closet’ once the NICU moved back down to the unit after reconstruction in 2014-2015. The closet will be used to store dozens of preemie clothing, blankets and other items for the NICU babies. The NICU nurses unveiled it to Mandy and Paisley, for whom the closet is named, on June 8, 2015.

inside the closet

Items in Paisley’s Closet are assembled by sex and size for staff.

“This idea was perfect, as there were two blankets donated in the 2014 run embroidered with ‘Running for Covers'” said Melissa Huisken, PCA in the NICU. “I was then able to use money donated by the three neonatologists to purchase the shadow boxes and other supplies, and with the help of Dawn Vandermaas, we were able to make a display on the wall to name the closet, Paisley’s Closet.”

“The NICU is very appreciative and overjoyed to have a family so dedicated to giving back to the NICU,” NICU staff said. “Mandy is increasing the publicity of Running for Covers, and always working towards having more people involved in order to expand the ways in which the event will benefit the NICU. Every year we look forward to the large donation, as it often seems like Christmas Day with the linen closet overflowing with cute baby blankets!”

Looking for a way to get involved? Join the Facebook event.


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