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Local Couple’s Gift Helps Entertain Kids at Miami Valley Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

(Dayton, OH) March 23, 2010 – A local couple has made a unique gift to children of parents with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Miami Valley Hospital. Bellbrook resident Karin Spicer and her husband Ed Blake made a generous contribution to the MVH Foundation to create an area with books, puzzles and videos to entertain and educate children accompanying their parents on visits to the NICU on the downtown campus.

Named after the family’s gray and white cat, Abby, the children’s area is known as Abby’s Nook. Along with videos and donated books, children will have the opportunity to color pages, specially designed by artist Sheryl Koby. The space is dedicated to Julie Ann Johnson, a dear friend of the couple.

Abby’s Nook was dedicated on March 18. MVH President and CEO Mary Boosalis addressed a small group who had participated in the planning and development of the children’s area, and thanked those who donated their time and talents to the project. Youngsters from the hospital’s Child Care Center, operated by Mini-University, were the first to visit Abby’s Nook. After a short dedication, Karin read stories to the young guests.

Design for the children’s area was donated by Doug Grewe of Pinnacle Architects. Furniture for the area was donated by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Miami Valley Region. Construction was performed by members of the hospital’s Maintenance Department. Tammy Boatman donated funds for additional books. In addition, wooden representations of Abby the cat and her siblings Willow and Milo, painted by Cindy Plummer, adorn the walls.

A gift from Ms. Spicer and Mr. Blake created a similar children’s area adjacent to the Emergency Department at Miami Valley Hospital South in Centerville. A Wright State University professor, Karin is a published author of several children’s stories and is a strong advocate of childhood literacy. Ed currently serves as chair of the Miami Valley Hospital board of trustees and is a past chair of the MVH Foundation board.

More than 900 newborns were admitted to the hospital’s NICU last year. Located in the Berry Women’s Health Pavilion on the hospital’s downtown campus, the unit is a Level III NICU, meaning care is provided for the most critically ill and fragile newborns. Featuring 60 private rooms, Miami Valley is the only hospital in the area with an in-house Level III nursery steps away from labor and delivery. Mothers and babies can be near each other at any time.