Infants receiving care in Marian Regional Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit were able to celebrate their first Halloween with crocheted hats and costumes made by longtime volunteer Candy Martin.

Martin created 10 tiny pumpkin hats and two Batman costumes for the babies in the NICU as a way to brighten the days of the families and staff, according to hospital spokeswoman Sara San Juan.

The unit celebrates the Halloween season each year, usually bringing together hundreds of former patients who received care in the earliest parts of their life.

Since the larger celebration was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin sensed that the staff needed something to brighten their day more than ever.

“Marian has been such a special part of my life. I love to crochet and I love the staff, so I wanted to do something that would encourage them and provide a spark of happiness,” said Martin, who has volunteered in the NICU, mother and baby, and labor and delivery departments for 23 years. “I know these past couple of years have been especially trying for them, so if this brings them some happiness, it’s a success.”

NICU Director Chris Jacowchik expressed gratitude to Martin for her creations.

“This very kind gesture brought joy to the parents of NICU infants, as well as the staff,” Jacowchik said. “Without our annual celebration, where staff and graduates come together, this allowed us the opportunity to spread some cheer among the unit, which was beneficial to everyone after such a difficult year.”

Marian’s 21-bed Level III NICU is the most sophisticated and technologically-advanced of its kind in the region, according to San Juan.

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