North Texas

Family Hopes For Cameras On Every Bed In Plano NICU

The neo-natal intensive care unit at any hospital can be a scary place for parents.

It's where the tiniest patients go as soon as their born, whether they were born too early or with complications, but a North Texas family is calming the fears of NICU parents by giving them a way to be with their babies, even from miles away.

"It fires me up. I get so excited every time I meet someone who's used a camera," said Amy Skaggs.

Amy and her husband, Chris, purchased the cameras, now installed in the NICU of Texas Health Plano, through fundraising efforts after tragedy stuck their own family.

Five years ago, Jaxon and Leighton Skaggs were born at 28 weeks, but three weeks into her short life, Leighton passed away from an infection, late-onset group b strep.

"This is the only home she ever knew. These nurses and doctors were her family," said Amy Skaggs.

It was when they took Jaxon home that the Skaggs had an idea.

"She literally rolled over on her bedside turned on the monitor and just saw him there sleeping peacefully. We were like, 'that's it! Why didn't we have this in the NICU?'" said Chris Skaggs.

The couple started the "Leighton's Gift", a project to outfit cameras inside the NICU at Texas Health Plano and beyond.

May's motorcycle ride was their most successful event to date.

So far, they've raised enough to install 19 cameras, but the goal is to buy cameras for all 45 NICU beds.

"It just makes everything worth it, what we've gone through to see that this is helping and giving her legacy at the same time," said Amy.

For new parents, the technology has eased their concerns about the NICU and enables family all over the world to see their new bundles of joy.

Colin and Maggie Jefferson just welcomed their twins, Ellison and Ian, a few weeks ago at Texas Health Plano and since the babies were born prematurely, they were admitted into the NICU.

"It's been a roller coaster. I was kind of scared of the NICU," said Maggie Jefferson.

Luckily, they're able to take advantage of the cameras installed on the babies' beds that deliver live-streaming video to the Jeffersons' mobile devices.

"Being a new mom, you're anxious. You want to see them all the time anyways. It's been amazing that I could look at them and it's almost like they're with me, you know, having them on my cell phone," said Maggie.

The Skaggs say it's technology they wish they had during their hospital stay and hope their story inspires others to donate to the cause.

To learn more and to donate, you can visit the Leighton's Gift website.

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