Alumna Founds Nonprofit Organization
for Mothers of Premature Babies

   
Ryan ’09 ’10 and Keri ’07 Heickert
Ryan ’09 ’10 and Keri ’07 Heickert with their twin girls, Delaney and Brooklyn.

Keri (Silvestrini) Heickert ’07 was 20 weeks pregnant with twin girls and went on bed rest with these words from the maternal fetal medicine specialist, “If you're still pregnant at 24 weeks, we will do everything we can for the babies. I'll say a prayer for you tonight.” After that appointment, her life changed. “It was so difficult to stay positive while on my 8 weeks of bed rest, not knowing if my children would survive,” Keri recalls.


On November 7, 2012, her girls were born at 28 weeks and 1 day. One day after returning from a long stay at the hospital, there was a package on her front step. When she opened the box there were diapers, formula, and another box. In the second box were the tiniest clothes she had ever seen. Katie L., mother of a 33 weeker, brought joy to Keri’s day by sending a seemingly simple care package. However, it meant so much more. From that day on, Keri promised herself that she would pay it forward to another mother. The list of mothers to whom she has sent her own self-made care packages continues to grow daily. Keri notes that, “There are so many people for whom I am thankful in my life because they gave me the tools I needed to dedicate my service to others in this manner and I am happy to be a steward of resources, hope, and love for others.  I hope my giving back brings joy into other mothers’ lives.”


Keri is a 2007 athletic training graduate. She chose Neumann “because of its strong mission and values. Respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship (RISES) were values that were always part of me, but I just had to be at a place that encouraged me to find them.” Opportunities she engaged in while at Neumann allowed her to develop her leadership skills and understand the profound effects of living those values. Keri is married to Ryan Heickert, a 2009 athletic training graduate and a 2010 graduate of the master’s in sport and entertainment management program. She received her master’s in education from Alvernia University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in education at St. Joe’s University. Aside from serving as the head athletic trainer at The Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools in Bryn Athyn, she serves as adjunct faculty here at Neumann.


Sending Love and Hope is Keri’s organization and is in the process of becoming a 501c3. The care packages that Keri puts together include several items: preemie-sized, NICU-friendly onesies that have “made with love, sent with hope” printed on them, matching hats; and for the mothers on bed rest she includes a journal to document daily routines and thoughts, nail polish, dry shampoo, fresh wipes, face cloths, and hand lotion. These items were extremely useful and comforting to Keri while she was on bed rest, and she hopes to send the same comfort to other mothers.


More information, including how to send a care package to a mother, can be found on the website at http://www.sendingloveandhope.com/. All donations will help Keri continue Sending Love and Hope to mothers. A portion of all donations and money raised at an event sponsored by Sending Love and Hope will be donated to the Pennsylvania Hospital NICU.


7/2/14

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