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Donor Stories

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

What do you do when you’re on bed rest for seven weeks? Well, not much, according to Lynn Parkhurst. “I just laid there. I learned how to crochet. I caught up on a lot of shows,” the Wisconsin mom of two said. Both of her…

Donor and Recipient Testimonial Video

This semester, two Purdue students Sydney Rivera and Taylor Moehling put together a short testimonial video about the power of giving and receiving breast milk donations at The Milk Bank. The video features two incredible women, Olivia Cammack and Lauren Duncan.

After a re-diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, cancer treatments prevented Olivia from breastfeeding her son Kenneth III just three weeks after his birth. She received donor milk from The Milk Bank a few days before running out of her own pumped supply and was thankfully able to feed her son exclusively with expressed breast milk.

Lauren donated her milk through The Milk Bank's bereavement program, Garrett's Gift, after her son Michael passed away in 2011. Now, she is a donor mother coordinator at The Milk Bank.

Check out and share the video about how meaningful and impactful donating breast milk is for so many infants and families in need.

Donor story: Donor mom comes full circle with her act of love

Donor story: Donor mom comes full circle with her act of love

When Amber Lumpkin delivered her children, Gavin, 7, and Bella, 5, things went as expected. However, when her 8-month-old son Jasper was born the delivery wasn’t like his older siblings. “It was kind of a different road when Jasper was born,” she said. Born at…
 

Donor story: Oversupply of love

What do you do when you have an oversupply of breastmilk? You donate it to The Milk Bank, of course.     After filling all her freezers, Wisconsin resident and mom of two, Jessica Safransky Schacht said an internet search is what led her to…

From recipient to donor

From recipient to donor

Our job is to receive milk, pasteurize it and ship it to hospitals who give it to sick infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. While we know donor milk is the next best thing when mom’s milk is not available, we rarely get to hear from…

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

What do you do when you’re on bed rest for seven weeks? Well, not much, according to Lynn Parkhurst. “I just laid there. I learned how to crochet. I caught up on a lot of shows,” the Wisconsin mom of two said. Both of her…

Donor Story: Jessica Zeckel

I first heard about donor milk when I was taking prenatal classes at IU North while pregnant, during a discussion about options for if my twins were to come early and need time in the NICU. I didn't think about it very much at the time since I was very optimistic about carrying my twins to term and breastfeeding. However, Allison and Cecilia ended up arriving at only 31 weeks 3 days and spent 6 and 7 weeks in the NICU working on breathing, eating, and growing.  

I asked for a pump right after they were born and pumped every 2-4 hours around the clock for weeks while my girls received tube feedings of my milk mixed with fortifier.

 

My wonderful husband was right there with me all night long, washing my pump kit at 3 in the morning and putting milk bottles into the fridge for me. I was so worried about not being able to provide enough milk for them that I pumped and pumped and pumped and ended up producing way more milk than they needed since they were so tiny.

 

When I got to bring my babies home they still needed to have fortifier added to their breastmilk for half of their feedings, so I continued pumping once I was able to nurse them as well. My oversupply actually led to some nursing problems (combined with their very small mouths), but by the time I managed to get my supply matched to their demand I had built up a huge freezer stash of milk. We had to stop buying frozen vegetables and meat because there was no room left in our freezer at all!

 

Eventually their demand increased and I stabilized at producing just barely enough milk, and we used frozen milk occasionally. Around that same time Allison and Cecilia's reflux started to get worse and they were having a really tough time with their digestion as well as nursing, so I gave up dairy and soy and switched to exclusively pumping. Once I gave up dairy and soy they were doing better, but I had this big stock of milk in my freezer that I couldn't give them. I didn't want it to go to waste and I remembered hearing about the milk bank, so I sent an email to The Milk Bank and started the donor approval process! I donated my entire freezer stash in two lump sums which added up being over 500oz of milk, including 297oz of preterm milk. It feels really good to know that my frozen preterm milk went to help someone else's preemies!

 

Allison and Cecilia are now nine months old, seven adjusted and are over 16lbs -- more than four times their birth weights of 3lb 6oz and 3lb 10oz! I'm still pumping away at work and at home and producing about 55-58oz per day. If I had extra milk I would definitely donate again, but for now I'm just happy that I am still able to provide enough for almost all of their feedings.

 

 

Hawkins Blog Bio

Donor Story: Kara Fisher

Hi!  Thank you for letting me share my story! A few weeks after my husband and I were married in the summer of 2010, we found out we were expecting.  After a quick calculation, we learned we had a honeymoon baby on the way.  As fall gave way to winter and my stomach was protruding, we learned our baby had a cystic hygroma and most likely would not survive to full term.  It was the most devastating news we could have imagined.  Within a couple weeks of the diagnosis, we lost our honeymoon baby.

Within 2 months, we were blessed a second time to learn I was pregnant again.  We proceeded cautiously yet positively as our hearts were still broken.  At my 20-week appointment, I was diagnosed with Vasa Previa, which is fatal to the baby and possibly the mother is not caught before labor begins.  We felt so lucky that we caught it in time, but now lived in constant fear of me going into early labor...which is exactly what happened at 24 weeks.  I was immediately hospitalized to stop labor and put on bed rest until my scheduled c-section at 36 weeks.  At 36 weeks, I delivered a perfectly healthy baby boy.

I felt as though my body had continually failed me on this journey.  It couldn't carry a baby and then it threatened the life of our second baby.  I wanted to try breastfeeding, but if I had so many complications during pregnancy, would I really be able to sustain a life with milk produced from my faulty body?  I was bound and determined to try.

Donor Story: Kara Fisher |www.themilkbank.orgLike most new mothers, my milk was slow to come in.  With our son being a bit premature, he would get tired quickly from attempting to nurse.  The lactation department at the hospital was excellent at getting me familiar with the pump and giving me positive feedback as I attempted to feed our little boy.  Their advice, let him attempt to feed, then pump after every attempted feeding.  I took their advice and even after going home, I continued to pump after each feeding.  For those first 5 weeks, if our son wasn't nursing, I was pumping.  It was time consuming, it was exhausting, it may have even been a little bit overkill, but I had one heck of a supply in our freezer and for the next year and a few months, I never had a single issue nursing our son.  FINALLY, I felt like my body was doing what it was meant to do!

After our son grew tired of nursing, we had roughly 6 months worth of frozen milk in the deep freeze.  I began thawing it and mixing it in with his food and giving it to him in a sippy cup, as I wasn't about to let my milk go to waste.  At this time, the thought of donation never crossed my mind.

As time passed we entertained the idea of having another baby and thought surely a third pregnancy would have to be easier than the first two.  I am happy to say it was free of any complications and in August of 2013, I delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl.  Within 10 minutes of her being born, she was latched on and my milk was ready to go.  It was like my body remembered exactly what it needed to do.

My husband and I had recently heard about milk donation through the hospital and knew this was something I was meant to do.  My body had fed our son, was feeding and our daughter, and I had enough of a supply to share it with others.  I was able to let go of the feeling that my body had failed me, as it could now not only help our children, but other babies as well.

I had such wonderful support from so many people as I first started down the breastfeeding/pumping road. Once we got home, my husband was there to bring me food, drinks, chapstick, eye drops, everything I needed while I was hooked up to my pump for weeks after our son was born.  The ironic part, my husband works for a formula company (free formula) but he was so supportive of me breastfeeding, even though it was more work for both of us.  After I went back to work, my office had a lactation room set up and I was never made to feel as though I needed to hurry or that I was an inconvenience to them by needing to pump 3x a day.

We won't chance fate by attempting to have any more children, but I would donate without hesitation if the chance came again.

Thank you for letting me share my story!!

Kara

 

Donor profile: Kaleigh

baby-home2How did you hear about donating your excess breast milk?I had a friend who donated and encouraged her friends to donate!

 

What happened that made you realize you had enough breast milk to share with babies in need? I was very frustrated the first week of pumping because I was barely keeping up with my son's needs. My son couldn't nurse and had to be tube fed (this didn't help my frustration). After the first week, I started producing over 50 ounces a day...can you say "milk mama!"

 

Was there anything unique about your pumping routine? I must admit that I broke the rules of pumping. I didn't pump every couple of hours. My schedule of pumping was consistent and I only pumped 3 times a day because living in the hospital and meeting with doctors consumed my time. I'm now going on 13 months of pumping and have never experienced a dip in supply.

 

Was your employer/spouse supportive of you pumping/ donating? My sweet husband was very supportive of my pumping and donations. He always dropped my milk off to The Milk Bank. Poor guy had his picture taken a few times during drop off :)

 

Would you donate again? Most definitely! This year has been one heck of a ride with my son's surgeries and too many hospital stays, but pumping brought some sense of relief and relaxation.

 

 

Are you a milk donor or recipient who would like to share your story? We would love to hear from you. Contact us!

Donor Profile: Cynthia, Repeat Donor

How did you hear about donating your excess breast milk? My husband’s maternal grandfather used breastmilk to help combat the effects of chemo when he was sick with lung cancer. It made a tremendous difference in his well being. So I googled how to donate breastmilk and The Milk Bank came up in my search.

 

What happened that made you realize you had enough breast milk to share with babies in need?

My freezer was full of milk and I had a baby that refused to take a bottle. I wanted the milk to go to good use before it expired

 

CynthiaIn 2013, my sister-in-law and I both had babies due in August. This was exciting news, as we both already had kids around the same age who loved to play together. Soon we found out that she was having her second boy and I was having my third girl. After that ultrasound and some more testing, it became apparent that her baby had some birth defects, while mine was healthy. These defects were serious and likely to affect her ability to nurse him when he was born. Since she did not respond well to pumping with her first son, she was concerned that she would have milk supply issues again. Given the severity of the baby’s birth defects and the increasing chance that he would be born early, breast milk would be best for his well being. I told her that after my baby was born, I would pump for her baby as well so that he would have the largest supply of milk possible.

At 36 weeks gestation, my nephew was born. He fought bravely, but tragically, the birth defects were too much for him to overcome. He passed away only 6 hours after he was born. Two weeks later, when my own daughter was born, I began pumping twice a day in his memory. I would pump in the early morning hours (3, 4 or 5 am) and then also in the afternoon.  I continued this pumping regime for 2 months. As his aunt, it was the best way I could think of to honor his brief life. I was able to donate 172 oz to babies who need it in his memory. It was very fulfilling to be able to give his milk to other babies who needed it. It also meant a lot to me to be able to have his name inscribed on a gold leaf on the Giving Tree. When a child dies in infancy, the parents are robbed of many simple joys in parenthood, such as watching the child learn to write his name. It is a beautiful to have his name memorialized in writing. I donated to the milk bank with my second and third daughters and if I were having more children, I would do it again in an instant.

 

Donor Profile: Kelli Buckley

Donor Profile: Kelli Buckley

 

 

How did you hear about donating your excess breast milk?

I asked the hospital (Central Baptist Lexington KY) about donating.  I pumped a little in the hospital for engorgement and had a few bottles there.  I told the lactation consultant they (the hospital) could keep it if they could use it, but she said they weren’t allowed too.  So I asked her how I could donate extra milk with this being my second child (since with my first I threw so much out ) and she told me about IMMB.

 

What happened that made you realize you had enough breast milk to share with babies in need?

With my first child, I had bags and bags of excess milk, but I didn’t know about donation and unfortunately, I ended up throwing out the milk I didn’t use.  Therefore, I thought there was a possibility of me having excess milk again with my second.  I always made sure I had plenty of milk in the freezer for my baby, but when things started getting crammed in our deep freeze I’d send a cooler to Mother Nurture/Baby Moon in Lexington.  My first donation was probably around the time my baby was 5 months old.

 

Was there anything unique about your pumping routine?

Pretty simple, I pumped when my baby would be eating if I was away from him.  I went back to work when he was 3 months old and would pump 3 times during the day (same times he would eat at the sitter).  The only extra time I pumped was in the middle of the night, about 3 a.m.  Once he started sleeping through the night I would still get up and pump so as to not be engorged in the morning when he ate.  That’s where a lot of the extra milk came from.  I didn’t have to even set an alarm, my body felt the fullness I guess and was telling itself to get up and pump!

 

Was your employer spouse supportive of you pumping/ donating?

Very supportive! Luckily, I have my own office at work so all I would have to do was close the door and lock it.  I actually put a stick it note on my door that said "pumping", that way no one would try to interrupt.  My boss (who is a man) was very supportive.  He kind of new around the times I was busy pumping and a lot of times would ask is this a bad time if he came to my office.  He would tell others that came to my door when it was shut that I was “being a mom.”

My husband was also very supportive and helped me drop off every load (yes one time I dropped off over 600 oz at one time).  With that much milk, I had to have his help.  He was also very supportive of me breastfeeding/pumping in general.  He put up with me being so a crazy about feeding my babies only the best!

 

Would you donate again?

Definitely!  It is so great to know that my milk helped babies in need.  I wish I could have done so with my first child.  My second child was born at 35 weeks, so from my understanding, some, if not all, of my milk, went to help preemie babies and that’s just awesome!

 

Please share anything you think others would relate to and THANK YOU!

I never dreamed I would have been able to donate over 1,300 ounces of breast milk and still feed my own baby…but I did!  This really and truly is one of my biggest accomplishments in life, to help others in need.  I’m not going to say it was easy breastfeeding and pumping all the time, it is very demanding, but I was blessed to be able to nourish my child and help nourish other babies as well.   And if the Lord decides to bless me with another child I hope that he blesses me with this ability again!

 

World Record for Breast Milk Donation Broken by Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank Donor

World Record for Breast Milk Donation Broken by

Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank Donor

Amelia Boomker donated over 16,000 fluid ounces

 

INDIANAPOLIS – An Illinois mother of four has donated the breast milk equivalent of 816 Venti Starbucks lattes or 241 2-liter bottles of Coke to the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank, which collects breast milk donations from fully screened and approved mothers and provides pasteurized donor milk to hospitals throughout the Midwest.

 

Amelia Boomker of Bolingbrook, Ill., has set the Guinness World Record for breast milk donation by gifting 16,321 fluid ounces of milk to IMMB. She made her donations between February 2008 and September 2013.

 

Boomker began pumping breast milk when her first son, Danny, was born with a congenital heart defect in 2005. Danny was tube-fed for the first six months of his life, so the best thing Boomker could do for him was pump breast milk to help him get healthy.  She was producing more milk than her son could consume, so the nurses at Hope Children’s Hospital encouraged her to donate to a milk bank.

 

“They started sending me liter bottles because I producing so much milk. I would send up to 14 at a time!” she said.

 

“The milk donations we receive are delivered to hospitals throughout the Midwest to provide live-saving nourishment to newborns who are critically ill in Neonatal Intensive Care Units,” says Carissa Hawkins, communication coordinator at IMMB. “Amelia’s donations helped save many young lives on the way to setting the world record.”

 

Boomker also pumped breast milk for her three sons born after Danny, allowing her donation amount to climb. While on maternity leave with her youngest son, she became aware of the world record and knew that she had pumped enough to break it. She attributes some of her breast milk production success to a flexible employer that lets her pump long-term on a consistent daily schedule.

 

For five years, she sent expressed milk in coolers packed with dry ice and dropped off donations at some of the IMMB’s depots in the Chicago area. The milk bank has depot locations throughout the Midwest for donors to drop off milk.

 

“The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank’s choice to open milk depots was brilliant.  I wish they would open more in the Chicago area! It was so easy for me to drive up to the hospital and drop off my donation,” she said.

 

# # #

About IMMB

The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank pasteurizes and screens breast milk from fully screened and approved mothers and to be sent to Neonatal Intensive Care Units in hospitals throughout the Midwest. They have depot locations throughout the Midwest and have been in existence since 2005.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Karen Hurt, khurt@bohlsengroup.com

317-840-4081

Meet Lauren, Our New Donor Mother Coordinator

By Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator

It was October of 2011 when I received a call from Kathy Mason the Lactation Consultant at Riley Hospital for Children, telling me about about a mom who wanted to donate after the passing of her son.

It was Lauren.

Lauren Duncan Collage WM
Lauren Duncan Collage WM

Michael Duncan was born in September, 2011 at 23 weeks, 6 days. He lived for a month.

Lauren pumped the entire time and was able provide Michael with breastmilk his entire life. The extra came to us.

Now, Lauren serves as our Donor Mother Coordinator, helping us ensure the generous moms who contact us have a quick, pleasant experience.

Please help us welcome her!

Donor Profile: Amy Peters

Donor Profile: Amy Peters 

Dear Carissa,

My story is one of loss but I would like to share it.

My 2nd daughter Genevieve Helene Peters was born on October 8th, 2013. She was 6 lbs. 14 oz. and 19 inches long. She was full term and presumably healthy and we were all so excited, especially her big sister Alivia who is 3. Genevieve was with us for 26 days, a perfect little angel till November 3rd, when she was taken from us so suddenly. We are told that she got an infection in her small bowel that was caused by NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) . This infection turned septic in her bloodstream and she went into septic shock. Doctors and nurses in the ER tried for hours to help her but they were unsuccessful. At this time I was unaware that I could donate the breast-milk that was meant for her to help another baby. It wasn't until I talked to my OBGYN the following day. I had contacted her because I was in so much pain not being able to nurse and wanted to know if there was anything I could do to alleviate the pain.

As soon as she told me that donating was an option, I broke out the pump and was set up before I got off the phone with her. I thought for a moment that this was what I was meant to do. To help another little baby in need. However after my initial pumping which yielded 6 oz. the following session only provided 1 oz. I was devastated.

 

On top of loosing Genevieve, a hope that I had for her gift to others, was lost. I didn't give up though, I kept pumping every couple hours and ate and drank even though grieving makes you not really care or want to. Finally I started to get more milk during my pumping sessions. However, then one of my flanges broke, I have an older pump so I had to order online. While waiting for the part to be sent, my milk supply started to drop due to only pumping one side at a time. Even after getting the part my milk supply never really went up again and having to go back to work I was unable to pump as often as I would have liked. Even though they were very accommodating whenever I needed to use the office to pump I could I just couldn't pump enough. My husband was also very supportive and knew that pumping was very important to me. My one wish in my journey is that I would have like to have known that my breast-milk could be donated sooner. If I would have kept pumping following Genevieve's passing I would have been able to donate a lot more milk. Waiting for so long to pump reduced my supply dramatically. I really wish that a nurse or doctor had told me sooner. I really think that hospitals should make mom's aware that they can share their wonderful gift at the time of any baby's birth. Just make all mother's aware that there is this option out there whether they plan on nursing or not. All pediatric doctors and nurses should also be aware. Then when a tragedy or loss happens mothers would be able to share as soon as possible.

The thought of being able to help a little baby in need is what kept me going. It gave me hope for the future and donating this precious gift helped me through the grieving process. Genevieve was here, she lived, and she will be remembered, and she hopefully helped save another little angel. My hope is that this gift was enough to bring a baby home in their mother's arms.

Thanks for listening, I hope this was info you were looking for. I would definitely donate again, God willing it would be because I have excess and another newborn that would be willing to share.

I think you are all doing a wonderful thing, and I will do all that I can to help spread the word, so that little infants in need get this amazing gift.

 

Thank you!

Amy Peters

Note: We recently asked on Facebook if previous milk donors or recipients would be willing to share their story. Below is the letter I received from a Bereaved Donor. If you have a story you would like to share with out readers, please email chawkins@immb.org

Holiday Survival: 5 Tips for Donors

Holiday Survival

5 Tips for Donors

by: Sarah Long, IBCLC, Clinical Coordinator

Bella Pumping-holiday survival

  1. Make time to breastfeed or pump:  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you or follow your babies feeding queues.
  2. Pre-Pack your Pump: Make sure you have enough bottles, membranes and flanges to make it through your visit. Maybe tuck a hand pump in your bag in case of an emergency.
  3.  Be Prepared: Make sure you know that your destination has an outlet you can use. Bring a cooler and an ice pack. If you have a car battery adapter for your pump, make sure it's working. Traveling in the cold can often lead to unforeseen circumstances.
  4. Have a drink: Water, Water, Water! Breastfeeding moms need water! This is a time of merriment and cheer. We want you to enjoy but please remember not to donate milk that has been pumped within 12 hours of your last alcoholic beverage.
  5. TAKE A BREAK: Amongst the craziness make sure you are taking care of yourself. You're doing a big job here by making milk so give yourself a break! Ask for help when you need and have a rest! Cheers!

Donor Profile: Dr. Jordan Craig

There are some donors I will never forget. Dr. Jordan Craig and her family are one. From our only meeting at the hospital where she was a Resident on a High-Risk Floor to picking up donations monthly at her home from her husband Brian, a stay-at-home dad to their three kids. The Craig's have been very supportive of the work we do.  

Jordan recently sent me her donation story through our website and I asked if I could share it here. Below are her answers to my questions.

How did you hear about donating your excess breast milk?

After giving birth to my third child, I pumped as much as I could over my short 5 week maternity leave. I developed over supply. I asked a few friends and colleagues about how to handle the oversupply issue.  A good friend, Marissa had already been donating milk and brought up the idea after I asked her to use space in her deep freezers.  Initially I was a bit nervous to donate until Penelope was several months old, but I planned ahead and made sure that my stored milk followed all the guidelines that Marissa had been given for her milk.

As a health provider and Mom, what would you says is the most important reason for women to share their excess breastmilk with a milk bank?

Breastmilk has countless benefits especially for the premature or ill newborn.  Many of those mothers are struggling to pump a single ounce, or perhaps are pumping for multiples.  Others are too ill themselves to establish a good supply, especially after a preterm birth.  Donated milk helps the most at-risk newborns have access to the best nutrition.

How did you find time to pump with such a grueling 80 hr a work week?

It took a lot of dedication and multitasking.  It also helped that I was further along in my residency, I had more of a supervisory role and was able to step away for brief periods of time.  I had a hands free pump.  My schedule would be something like this: 430am-nurse baby on one side, 445-515-pump both sides with hands-free set while driving to work.  Round on patients from 515-700, then lectures or morning rounds with faculty.  After that, a quick pump before heading into the OR or clinic for the day.  Then 1-2 more pumpings throughout the day in between surgical cases or office patients, and a one-sided pump on the drive home.  On 24-30 hour shifts I just tried to match Penny's normal eating scheduled especially over night.  I tried to hold on to work I could do in private like charting, dictating and writing prescriptions or calling patients and do that while I pumped.  I also learned early on that it was better to do frequent quick sessions rather than holding off until you have "time" to pump.  I pumped in our NICU pump rooms, my office, call rooms, consult rooms and the offices of teaching staff, cars and the women's only physician lounge/lockers. It was insane, but I like to think that I am a very efficient pumper and physician.

What was Brian's reaction to you donating?

Initially he worried that we would need the extra milk. However, we quickly filled up freezer after freezer and then it became a nuisance to have it hanging around and accumulating. At that point he was completely on board!  This was around the same time that he began to get more connected in the parenting community, writing his blog and doing his thing, and I think that contributed to seeing the more philanthropic and public health benefits of milk donation. Edited to add: For a fun read, check out Brian's post Lactavalanche.

Your hospital uses Pasteurized Donor Human Milk from IMMB? Did you ever work with a family received donor milk? What was that like? 

Certainly I've had many patients who have been milk recipients.  I've never really piped up with "that could be my milk!"  I also want to remain sensitive to those who are struggling on the supply end.  My favorite thought, though is the milk that I donated from right after Penelope's birth was technically "preterm" milk and I always hope that milk went straight to a NICU in our area.  It did feel great to donate that milk.  The whole process was very empowering and something that I hope other women are willing to consider.

In a strange way, with all of the hard things I saw that year and with all of the mothers that I treated, it was wonderful to know that I was helping babies in my own way.

From the Executive Director: Mission Moments

When I reflect back on my six years with the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank, what sticks out the most are the “mission moments,” those times when the generosity of our donors and supports makes what we do here worthwhile. And while the administration of our growing milk bank doesn’t leave me much time to spend on direct service any longer, I always hear about mission moments from my staff.

The most memorable of these acts of love bring smiles or tears, or smiles through the tears:

After his wife became a bereavement donor following the death of their newborn son, a donor’s husband made an unplanned stop at the milk bank while the family was traveling through Indiana to visit friends. The entire family came in to view our giving tree, a display that memorializes babies whose families have donated in their honor. The children found the leaf with their brother’s name, and we took pictures of all of the family members in front of the leaf.  Everyone in the office cried that day, and the family was able to understand our deep appreciation for the lifesaving nourishment they provided to other fragile infants and their families through the milk bank.

We value every donation that we receive, but it was a gift that resulted from another unexpected visit to our building that sticks with me. The parent of a newborn baby that received lifesaving milk through our services stopped at our office after seeing the sign on our door. Right on the spot, he cut a check to benefit our Milk Money & More fund. This parent said he committed to a donation to the milk bank in the neonatal intensive care unit of their local hospital after his fragile newborn received our donor milk before mom was able to produce her own. What a great feeling for us to know that our service is valued in the community.

A mom in our office building uses our break room to pump for her baby. Without fail, she donates what she pumps one day each week. Her consistent commitment helps us meet the critical shortage of donor milk and save more newborns in need.

This story is a little more personal, but shows that anyone can play an important role in delivering the gift of lifesaving breast milk. The day that our pasteurizer broke down, we had milk that needed to be pasteurized, and we had to get it to another milk bank to make that happen. My son dropped what he was doing, drove the milk up to another milk bank where the director stayed late to pasteurize it for us.

I often think of these moments and others when things get stressful or may not be going right. They are what I’ll remember when I’m retired and taking stock of what I’ve done during my lifetime. And, I’m proud to share this unshakeable bond with such amazing mothers, their families and all of our supporters.