NICU art gallery showcases patients' stories

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Jamie Helman, a local artist, is helping families staying in the neonatal intensive care unit through a new art gallery at Memorial Hospital.

Helman creates stories detailing the journeys of NICU families and reminds them they aren't alone.

"It's a very emotional job," Helman said. "Each family's story is different, and we try to get photos with doctors and nurses, because they become family when they're here."

Stephanie McCoy, a former NICU mom, says reading others' stories helped her family during their stay.

"Six years ago, our daughter Aubrey was born." McCoy said. "We lost our first child, and our she was born prematurely. We spent 40 days in the NICU [with Aubrey]."

McCoy brought her daughter to the hospital to look at the Wall of Hope and read the stories on the wall. The wall has even inspired the artist herself.

"The passion for this project and unit in specific goes really deep," Helman said. "I decided I didn't want to just experience working in the unit, so I volunteer here as well."

While the art hangs still on the halls of Floor 6, the stories they share stay imprinted in the hearts and minds of those who have encountered them. They are a reminder of hope through the smallest of warriors.