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Totes for Tiny Tots

Sixteen years ago, Debbie was entering the third trimester of her pregnancy with her firstborn, Tyson. As new parents, Debbie and Darin were excitedly awaiting the January 18 due date, which signaled the beginning of a new chapter in their young family’s lives.


As most parents learn, you can’t always prepare for what to expect when you’re expecting. Debbie and Darin learned that Tyson was growing at a disproportional rate: his head was growing normally, his body was a few weeks behind his head growth, and his arms and legs were growing even slower than his body.


Debbie was sent to the University of Washington Medical Center for further testing to learn more about Tyson’s condition. After being put on bed rest, she was given a steroid to help Tyson’s lungs develop. On December 7, 2000, at 6-weeks premature, Tyson was born via C-section at around 2.5 pounds – about half the weight of typical 36-week unborn baby.


Tyson was at the UW Medical Center for a week and a half as doctors helped strengthen his body, lungs and heart. He was then transferred to Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where he continued to use the C-PAP machine. On January 10, Debbie and Tyson were discharged from the hospital, just a week prior to the original due date. He weighed less than 5 pounds, but he was strong and thriving on his own.


Tyson is now a sophomore at Selah High School. He is a healthy young man who loves math and science, is excitedly awaiting his 16th birthday to get his driver’s license, and plays the trombone in Selah’s marching band. This activity in particular shows just how strong his lungs have grown since his time spent developing them in the NICU. Tyson also holds the record in his PE class for doing the most consecutive push-ups (which he proudly boasts that it’s 100 in a row). Debbie is a senior director and consultant at Thirty-One Gifts, an online company that sells bags, totes, and accessories.


ToteThroughout October, Debbie organized a Thirty-One Gives charitable campaign for thermal tote bag donations that will be used for new mothers to transport breast milk. The totes were donated by her clients, friends and staff of Memorial’s Pediatrics Unit and NICU, and a handful of totes were donated in honor of other NICU graduates. On October 25, Debbie and Tyson presented 36 thermal totes to the staff at Memorial’s NICU and The Memorial Foundation to be given to new moms of NICU babies, just like Debbie and Tyson once were.


HatsAlong with the tote-bag donations, Debbie also presented 30 palm-sized crocheted hats that Charlie, a Thirty-One Gifts client, lovingly made.


Jessalynn Jones, Memorial’s Pediatrics Unit and NICU’s Nurse Manager, explained that the totes will be greatly appreciated by new moms. With these totes, moms will be able to safely transport their breast milk from home to their baby in the NICU. She explained that this will make a world of difference in these mother’s lives.


Jessalynn and her nursing staff gave Tyson a tour of the NICU showing him the full-circle inspiration of the machines and medical practices that keep the 300 babies that are admitted into Memorial’s NICU per year alive and growing just like they did for him.


Thank you, Debbie, Tyson, and the friends who donated these selfless gifts. We are grateful for this full-circle miracle and look forward to continuing to celebrate the milestones of our NICU-graduate, Tyson!


Tote Donation