The Center Club was decked out in garlands, wreaths and holiday lights. Everywhere you looked, there were candy canes, Santa figurines, decorated trees and gifts galore. A holiday spirit prevailed as some 300 guests merrily greeted each other. However, it wasn't Dec. 25. It was exactly six months later, at the "St. Nick and You" party, which benefits Mercy Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"Every year, we do [an event that's] a play on words," explained Mercy's executive chair, Sister Helen Amos. "One year, we did 'Nick and U2' with an Irish theme. Last year, we did 'Nick at Nite,' with a theme of old TV shows."
"This is fabulous. I'm ecstatic," exclaimed Dr. Susan Dulkerian, Mercy's Newborn Services director.
Among the attendees were some who had personal experience with Mercy's NICU, like committee member Amy Parker.
"My son was born at 24 weeks, and he weighed only 1 1/2 pounds. He was in the NICU for three months, and this lady took care of him," Parker said, as she hugged NICU nurse Peggy Chagnon. Parker's mom had contributed a little holiday spice to the festivities by baking hundreds of gin- gerbread men, each tucked into a goody bag for the guests.
"This is our fourth year, and it's our best year yet," said event co-chair Kristina Kooken.
After all, it wasn't just the date that the party shared with Christmas.
"How can you not like something that's about little kids?" concluded co-chair Timothy Swartz.
Sloane Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.