Grandpa who volunteers to cuddle babies in NICU donates $1M
An 81-year-old man from Alabama wanted to make a real difference in the lives of nurses and volunteers at the local NICU.
Louis Mapp had been driving 45 minutes once a week to the USA Children's And Woman's Hospital where he had been rocking and cuddling babies.
Read more on our Twitter account, @amomama_usa. A news segment about Mapp's volunteer work can be seen below.
Mapp, who said that he had blessed in life, also donated $1 million to the center in the hopes that it would make their lives easier.
He is given them complete control over how to spend money and said that the medical staff "will be the ones to decide" what to do with the donation.
A spokesperson confirmed that one of the first purchases would be specialized Leo Beds for babies who weigh less than one pound.
The donation was made through the Mapp Family Foundation after Mapp and his wife of nearly six decades, Melissa, decided to give the infants "a fighting chance."
Mapp said the feeling of volunteering at a NICU is hard to describe, but he gets satisfaction out of seeing a tiny baby look up and smile at him. He added:
“I’m 81 years old, and one of the neatest things I’ve ever done is being around those precious babies, and the nurses that take care of them.”
During those afternoons when he gets to spend time with the tiny tots, he likes to imagine what kind of people they would grow up to be. He said:
“I’m sitting there, holding these precious little babies, and in my mind, I think, ‘What are they gonna be when they grow up?’ I just imagine all kinds of things.”
One of the parents who gave birth at the center, Amy Hyde, credits the NICU department for saving her baby's life. She went into labor and 26 weeks.
Her baby is just one of the thousands born at the center each year, and Mapp's donation would go a long way to ensure they keep on with their life-saving work.
Earlier this year, newborn baby Cullen Potter "graduated" from the NICU after he was born back in March weighing only 13.9 ounces.
Cullen only had a 2 percent chance or survival, but thanks to the medical team, he now has a second chance at life.
A few states over in Atlanta, David Deutchman, has been volunteering at the Children's Healthcare center for more than 12 years.
He said that rocking the babies gives meaning to his life, and he doesn't mind the 2-hour trip to center at all.
The staff only has praise for Deutchman, and Nurse Elizabeth Mittiga described him as a "really special person" and their unit's very own "baby buddy."