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UT Health Tyler NICU receives donation of care packages

Tyler (December 19, 2022) —  Having a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit can be stressful any time of year, but having a baby in the NICU during the holidays can be even more trying for a family. A Tyler woman and her nonprofit organization is hoping to ease the burden by delivering care packages to the UT Health Tyler NICU.

Lexi Sullivan, from left, delivers care packages to the UT Health Tyler NICU team including Dr. Armando Castillo, NICU medical director, Laura Ryan, RNC, Christina Martin, NNP, and Celia Wilson-Patino, a premed student at Georgia Tech.

Lexi Sullivan on Monday delivered the care packages on behalf of Eve’s Victory, an organization with the mission of bringing hope to families struggling with premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, having a disabled and/or ill baby or the loss of a child.

“It’s isolating, not only being in the hospital, but not being able to bring your baby home,” Sullivan said. “This shows there are people who know what you’re experiencing and that you’re not alone.”

Sullivan got involved with the nascent organization after her own pregnancy loss six years ago when someone saw her story on social media and reached out to her.

“All of the women in Eve’s Victory have experienced either NICU stays, miscarriage or stillbirth. We all had a passion for reaching out to people who are going through something so dark and scary and something that isn’t really talked about,” she said.

The cofounders initially reached out to friends in different states asking if they would want to take care packages to NICUs and hospitals. From there God started opening doors for the group to launch in four different states, organizers said. Sullivan and her family moved to Tyler this summer and she has been working to build a support network for East Texas.

The care packages contain items such as swaddling blankets, onesies, knitted baby hats, snacks, tea samples, a journal, pens and encouragement cards with personal notes. The group also provides bereavement boxes for those who experience pregnancy loss.

“I felt such a calling for me to be bringing this to Tyler,” Sullivan said. “I really felt there was a need for people to know they’re not alone and there are people who understand what they’re going through and how dark it can be.”

Lexi Sullivan delivers care packages from Eve’s Victory to the UT Health Tyler NICU.

Sullivan, now a mother of two boys, ages 4 and 8 months, hopes to grow the organization locally. Information about the group, including how to join or donate, can be found at or through their Facebook page.

“Eve’s Victory has really been a good prayer group for me. I’d like to reach out to other people the way they were there for me because I know how badly I needed it,” she said.

UT Health Tyler NICU Director Marcie Tunstall said she was grateful for the care packages because they will provide comfort to families at the holidays.

“This heartfelt gift is extremely meaningful,” Tunstall said. “The gratitude extends beyond our NICU team to the parents who receive them and are comforted by the kindness of others.”

Dr. Armando Castillo, medical director for the NICU, said most parents are expecting to leave with their babies soon after delivery and are not prepared for a NICU stay, which can be a traumatic experience. The care packages, especially the journals, are a great way to bring comfort, he said.

“It’s a way to get them involved and for them to have ownership through the process,” he said. “They can write the things that happen on a day-to-day basis so it’s something they can share with the baby as they grow up.”

About UT Health East Texas

UT Health East Texas provides care to thousands of patients each year through an extensive regional network that includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional rehabilitation facilities, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 50 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including the region’s only Level 1 trauma facility.

As a partner with The University of Texas System, UT Health East Texas is uniquely positioned to provide patients with access to leading-edge research and clinical therapies while training and educating the next generation of physicians and other health professionals. The nationally recognized UT System also includes The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, as well as three other major university medical centers located throughout the state.

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