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New Lawrenceville’s #NICU Challenge for the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation

New Lawrenceville’s #NICU Challenge for the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation
By Rodney Camren

New Lawrenceville has been “Bringing Community Together” for 9 years now.  We do this through 12 business networking opportunities, an additional 6 co-hosted networking meetings, a festival, the trolley tours, our summer speaker series, a 2-page spread in the Gwinnett Citizen and now our 1st Annual Golf Tournament. 

All of our board of directors and committee members are volunteers, no one collects a paycheck.  We also don’t collect tax money to create our events.  We do it the old fashion way, by working hard and relying on our own resources.  Win or fail we push through and see it to the end of whatever challenge we take on for our community.  We put on our events to help create fun things for the community of Lawrenceville and the surrounding area.  We don’t do it to compete against anyone but to show people and organizations you don’t always need big brother to make your community great.  Too many times people rely on the leaders of a community for everything and that’s just not the American way in our opinion.  Through the events we are able to raise money and lots of it.  In just the past two short years we have given back to the Lawrenceville Community over $20,000.  

At the beginning of 2014 our board of directors saw a great need in our backyard for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville.  So we made a decision that everything we can raise will go back to them.  From Wikipedia, “A neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), also known as an intensive care nursery (ICN), is an intensive-care unit specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants. The first official ICU for neonates was established in 1961 at Vanderbilt University by Professor Mildred Stahlman, officially termed a NICU when Stahlman was the first to use a ventilator off-label to assist a baby with breathing difficulties.  A NICU is typically directed by one or more neonatologists and staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, resident physicians, and respiratory therapists. Many other ancillary disciplines and specialists are available at larger units. The term neonatal comes from neo, “new”, and natal, “pertaining to birth or origin”.

So far from the 4th Annual Spring Green Festival held in March and spearheaded by Vanessa Churco we have raised $10,000.  We presented that check to the hospital earlier this year at the Chick-Fil-A on Pike Street during one of our business networking events.  In addition to that Auveed Cawthon wrote an exceptional story on “GMC NICU ~ Touching Lives”.  In her article she talked about Dr Leslie Leigh who heads up the unit.  She also relayed the story of Michael Yi and his two beautiful twins who are living examples of the work and dedication of the NICU.  The work these people do to help families every day is uplifting and more than one could ever understand.  

Our leaders in the New Lawrenceville community always come up with great ideas and are all too happy to spearhead them. One true leader in our group stepped up and wanted to organize what is now New Lawrenceville’s 1st Annual Par for the Cause Golf Tournament presented by,  D.J. Walkiewicz from Art Thou Signs in Lawrenceville on Buford Drive has worked tirelessly to create so much excitement for this event which will be held on September 15th, 2014 at Summit Chase Country Club.  Through sponsorships, hole sponsors, donations and magazine ads all of our proceeds will be given back to the hospital’s NICU.  We are blessed to have so many people who are interested in participating for the success of this charity golf tournament.  The golfers will enjoy a free breakfast served by Chick-Fil-A Pike Street.  Then while they are out golfing and return for lunch we have the generosity of Texas Roadhouse Grill.  There are many door prizes and great goody bags for each golfer.  

Our presenting sponsor for the New Lawrenceville 1st Annual Golf Tournament “Par For The Cause” are husband and wife team Tom & Laura Lea Vooris of  Their company is Gwinnett’s Best restaurant delivery service from a lot of your favorite restaurants.  Just enter your zip code and order online.  It will be delivered to your home in no time.  Why go out to eat when you can stay home and have it sent to you.  

I asked Tom Vooris how he came to know about the NICU and he told me “My wife and I are the parents of triplets. They were born 2 months premature. Our son Conner was 3lbs 9ozs, Sydney 3lbs 6oz, and who I still to this day call my tiny tot Erika was 2lbs 8ozs. They were in NICU and if not for the staff of that unit my tiny tot might not be here today. They are now 14 years old and healthy Freshman in high school.  Just the fact that there was a NICU in the hospital that new exactly what to do with my girl I know how valuable it is to so many more. Everyday a baby is born too soon. If there are not the highly trained caring people in a NICU these precious lives could be lost. With having an ambulance made specifically for preemies to get the immediate care they need more lives can be saved. This way more parents get to see their children grow up and become high school freshman as I am.”

Gwinnett Medical Center has a program called “Beads of Courage”.  From the GMC website Beads of Courage is a special program that honors the milestones achieved during a patient’s unique journey. The Gwinnett Women’s Pavilion’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is proud to have been the first hospital to offer this therapeutic program to preemie families.   All babies born prior to 34 weeks gestation are given a string and beads to spell their first name. Then, for every test or treatment a newborn receives in the NICU, he or she receives an additional bead. These babies and families will have a special strand of beads that is specific to their care and represents their courageous journey in our NICU. This program was instituted by and continues to be sponsored by the physicians and nurse practitioners of Gwinnett Neonatology, PC.

For More Information or to donate to our cause visit us at

Thank you to September 2014 New Lawrenceville media sponsors – 

New-Lvlle-roundThis article is sponsored by New Lawrenceville. New Lawrenceville is a FREE networking organization of businesses and volunteers that are working to bring community together.

Author Rodney Camren helps to lead New Lawrenceville in an effort to promote buying locally, educate the community on issues that affect our community. Rodney Camren is a Real Estate Agent with Keller Wiliams.