Former graduates of the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center’s (JFL) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), their families, supporters and JFL staffers paraded from Wendy’s to the hospital Sunday, Nov. 13, to mark the start of Prematurity Awareness week. The parade was led by the Adventist Youth VI Pulse Drum Corps, who kept parade participants dancing and marching for the third annual parade and family reunion celebration.
JFL’s reigning Preemie Princess Jiana Adeen and Miss Government Agency 2016, JFL’s own Temisha Libert, reigned over Sunday’s parade and festivities. Nicole Plante, who is the mother of a former NICU graduate, presided over the parade as the grand marshal. JFL Acting CEO Richard Evangelista welcomed the parade participants and attendees, and officially opened the Prematurity Awareness Family Reunion.
November is nationally recognized as Prematurity Awareness Month, and JFL is committed to increasing awareness by engaging the community through education and activism. The March of Dimes uses the month to draw attention to the plight of babies born too soon. Roughly, 15 million babies are born premature around the world each year, and more than one million of them don’t survive their early birth.
The Superior Court’s Rising Stars and Jay-Jay the Clown also provided entertainment for the annual event. Members from St. Croix Rescue and the V.I. Sickle Cell Parent Support Group provided educational materials at information tables set up at the Family Reunion.