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Benefits With Friends: Virtual event benefits babies, nurses

by Carin Schoppmeyer | January 21, 2021 at 6:50 a.m.

Ooh! La, Let's Dine In: An Online Dinner Auction on Feb. 11 will be a free virtual event and feature an online auction of themed dinner packages for six. The event and auction, to benefit the Jackson L. Graves Foundation, will begin at 7 p.m., and the auction will conclude at 7 p.m. Feb. 18. Dinner package themes will include farm-to-table, Mexican and brunch.

Organizers say: "Join us for some online shopping for a wonderful cause. The Jackson L. Graves Foundation mission is dedicated to the very sickest babies in need of complex medical attention and those that care for them. During the pandemic, we have largely been focusing on what we can do for the nurses and staff that care for these babies, as well as providing comfort items for their parents. We make trying times as comfortable, complete, hopeful and peaceful as possible."

The group "exists to provide family-centered care in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) environment to make trying times as comfortable, complete, hopeful and peaceful as possible." The nonprofit organization was formed in memory of Jackson Lee Graves, who passed away in February 2005 at the age of 4 months.

Audre Darling says the foundation concentrates on supporting nurses as much as possible in Northwest Arkansas NICUs and providing activities for parents isolated to their babies' room in Central Arkansas.

Leaders announced in 2019 that the foundation had assumed ownership and management of the Audrey Harris Vision, a nonprofit organization "with a single focus: furthering the education of neonatal nurses."

"We are largely focused on NICU nurses and what we can do to support them right now, including hosting virtual events for continuing education hours and organizing the Audrey Harris Neonatal Nursing Conference for Continuing Education" held annually in September.

Darling says the group awarded $10,000 in scholarships to the National Association of Neonatal Nurses Conference for NICU nurses from Washington Regional Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, Baptist Health-Fort Smith, Willow Creek Women's Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Projects are in partnership with NICUs at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Washington Regional in Fayetteville, Willow Creek Women's Hospital in Johnson, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers and Northwest Health in Bentonville.

They include the neonatal intensive care sibling playroom at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock and the construction of the Healing Garden at Willow Creek. The garden includes four sitting areas and a children's flower picking "Yes Zone."

-- CARIN SCHOPPMEYER

[email protected]

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Ooh! La Let’s Dine In!

Who: Jackson L. Graves Foundation

What: The virtual event will feature an auction of themed dinner packages.

When: Event and auction 7 p.m. Feb 11; auction concludes 7 p.m. Feb. 18

Where: 32auctions.com/OohLaLetsDineIn

Information: (479) 799-9592 or jacksongraves.org

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