BOISE - The holiday season is upon us and that means the Festival of Trees is right around the corner. The Saint Alphonsus Foundation has held the event for the past 33 years.
This year, money raised will benefit the hospital's smallest patients, and their families.
Since its inception, the Festival of Trees has raised more than $9 million to improve healthcare in our community. The goal this year will be to provide a major boost to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Al's.
KTVB talked with one family rallying for the cause.
Krista and Donny Jardine's second child was born in late August. Lyla came more than 10 weeks early and weighed only two pounds, 10 ounces.
"It's hard to grasp how small that is until you actually see them," said Krista. "It's kind of mind blowing"
Lyla was an extreme preemie, who at first, could barely be touched by her parents.
"The only thing we could do was put our hand on her and that's really hard," said Krista. "When you have a newborn all you want to do is hold them."
Krista says it slowly became easier. She says Lyla was doing well for arriving so early. She didn't need to be incubated or have surgery.
"We got really lucky," said Krista.
She says the neonatal intensive care staff at Saint Alphonsus helped keep her family's hopes up, including those of two-year-old big sister, Addie.
"Those nurses work so hard and they care so much about your child and it shows with how gentle they are," said Krista.
Little Lyla, who is now almost three months old, had to stay in the NICU for 58 long days. Krista left the hospital much earlier which she says was very difficult.
"I was just sobbing and didn't want to leave," said Krista. "The staff came up to me and said she would be okay and they would take care of her."
That's exactly what they did , and it's the reason why Krista and her husband are so passionate about helping the NICU at Saint Alphonsus continue to get better.
"It is a service that, without it, people would be devastated," said Krista.
Funding from this year's Festival of Trees will help provide things like sound-deadening flooring and noise monitors, the expansion of the family sleeping rooms, and additional swaddlers, recliners and cameras.
"So you can log on and you can see your baby when you're not there," said Krista.
She says it's something that makes it a little easier when you don't have the privilege of holding your baby any time you want.
If you want to help improve the NICU at Saint Alphonsus, the Festival of Trees opens up to everyone on Wednesday at the Boise Centre and runs until November 28. It's a fun event that Santa even attends. For more information click here.