Success of "Hope Starts Here" Campaign Ensures Revolutionary Care for Sick Newborns

The Hope Starts Here campaign has been BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation’s most successful to date, keeping the Hospital at the forefront of rapid changes in technology, research and medical advancements. 

On October 29, 2017, BC Women’s welcomed its first patients to the newly outfitted Newborn ICU at the Teck Acute Care Centre.

BC Women’s new Newborn ICU features 70 private rooms designed for tiny patients and their families. 10 of these special rooms will actually allow mothers to receive care alongside their newborns – the first in North America (and only second in the world) to completely redesign the model of care. This is all thanks to over 4,000 donors who contributed $17 million towards the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for the smallest patients at BC Women’s Hospital.

For parents like Tawnya Ritco and Tom Mayenknect (pictured), the collective success of this campaign literally meant the difference between life and death for their premature daughter, Alexa.

In 2016, Alexa was born at three pounds and spent 10 weeks in the original Newborn ICU in order to survive. Ritco and Mayenknect were introduced to a hands-on approach for families, a unique model of care that will continue to be rolled out in the new facility. The new Newborn ICU will have dedicated educational spaces where parents will learn how to care for their tiny family members, easing the transition from hospital to home.

When Tawnya and Tom first saw the new facility, they had a strong emotional response reflecting on their own experience. “I immediately grasped how much of a difference the new NICU will make for new parents working their ways through the challenges around premature birth.” - Tawnya Ritco

The new Newborn ICU will have family respite and relaxation areas for parents and siblings. “As a NICU parent, I just know how much special comfort it will bring to countless families by allowing moms to stay with their babies. That will go a long way to allowing their babies to not only survive, but thrive!” - Tawnya Ritco

The Hope Starts Here campaign has been BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation’s most successful to date, keeping the Hospital at the forefront of rapid changes in technology, research and medical advancements. As the referral centre for Western Canada, BC Women’s Newborn ICU admits an average of 10 at-risk newborns per week from other hospitals, providing specialized care that can only be found at BC Women’s NICU.

“Our journey had a gratifying outcome because of the comprehensive medical care, supportive environment and leading-edge technology that is synonymous with the NICU. The new NICU in the Teck Acute Care Centre will only take all of that to the next level as an innovative model of neonatal medical care in British Columbia, Canada and the world.” - Tom Mayenknecht