MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A volunteer who rocks babies in a neonatal intensive care unit has donated more than $1 million to an Alabama hospital.
The University of South Alabama said in a news release last week that Louis and Melinda Mapp donated more than $1 million to USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital's Hollis J. Wiseman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The gift will establish an endowment that will enable staff to identify and offset unforeseen needs within the unit.
Louis Mapp, 81, said he and his wife established the endowment because they wanted to do something that would carry on after they are gone.
On most Tuesdays, Louis would rock, feed, or burp, any baby who needed loving arms, WKRG-TV reported. "I love to look at their expressions when I rock them," he said.
NICU nurse manager Renee Rogers said human touch and bonding is critical for babies in the NICU to thrive, and parents are not always able to stay with their infants during hospitalization.
The unit offers care for premature and critically ill newborns and admits around 900 babies annually. Delivered at just 22 weeks and weighing only 13.9 ounces (0.4 kilograms), Molli and Robert Potter's son, Cullen, was a baby that Louis Mapp cared for in the unit.
"We live over an hour and a half away," Molli Potter said. "We definitely appreciate that Mr. Mapp was able to be here and hold him and cuddle with him and that he has someone here to give him that one-on-one when we can't."
"It's an honor for us to share our blessings, and we can't think of a better place to do it than here at the NICU unit of Children's & Women's Hospital," Louis Mapp said.