SPOKANE -- KREM 2 News and KREM.com are teaming up with our radio partners at KIX-96 to support the Children's Miracle Network.
The annual radiothon raises money to increase the quality of medical care and programs for children in the Inland Northwest.
The people who end up benefiting from that care usually never dreamed they would someday need it.
Andrew and Mary Ellen Brewick were due to give birth to their first baby on December 12 of last year, so they pictured snow on the ground and walking the few blocks from their apartment to Gritman Medical Center in Moscow.
"It's not the kind of birth story that we had expected," Andrew says.
Mary Ellen wouldn't be walking anywhere. Although their due date was more than two months away, the baby was in a rush. Every second was critical to get her to a hospital capable of delivering a baby so premature.
"When I got off the helicopter here on the roof at Sacred Heart, I saw a shooting star, which I thought was a really, really good sign," says Mary Ellen.
It must have been. At just 2 pounds, 10 ounces, little Mabel was delivered into nurturing hands at Sacred Heart's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
According to Sacred Heart nurse Kim Jorgensen, "we have the state of the art equipment that is out there right now that some NICU's may not have."
Part of the reason Sacred Heart and 9 other Inland Northwest children's hospitals and programs have some of the best care for medically fragile kids is because the non-profit helps fund things like Medstar, costly high tech beds and other pediatric equipment.
"This unit really could not function and give the quality of care that we provide to these babies without donations from Children's Miracle Network," Kim says.
"The days after she was born were really, really tough," recalls Mary Ellen.
Most families don't even realize what Children's Miracle Network does until its support quietly forms around them.
Now, the Brewick's realize its presence is invaluable.
"I can see how they've touched all the different parts of our experience really truly to make it easier for us," says Mary Ellen.
Little Mabel still has a few weeks before she'll be strong enough to go home. But she will go home -- something the Brewick's aren't taking for granted.