The Learning Tree Endowment Fund

For many new parents, pregnancy and the birth of their first child are among the happiest and most memorable experiences of their lives.

But for Jill and Andrew Rosenfeld, this was a time filled with fear and uncertainty. Their journey started in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as they desperately hoped their twin boys would survive.

Jill was in the sixth month of her high-risk pregnancy when she was ordered on bed rest due to a pre-existing clotting disorder. Soon after, her condition worsened, and she was hospitalized.

Her twin boys, Jack and Sam, were delivered on August 28, 2006, via cesarean section at only 27 weeks; each weighed less than two pounds.

The boys battled unthinkable circumstances, especially Jack, who, at 3 days old, endured surgery for intestinal perforations and later double hernias; he also fought a life-threatening bacterial infection.

After 84 grueling days in the hospital, Jill and Andrew were able to bring their sons home just before Thanksgiving. They and the boys' grandparents, Lori and David Rousso and Brenda and David Rosenfeld, couldn't have been happier.

Lori and David immediately laid the groundwork to establish a fund to foster continuing education for physicians, nurses, and all medical staff working in the NICU.

The endowment fund, which they hope will grow with the support of other families and supporters, was named after their grandchildren: The Learning Tree Endowment of Cedars-Sinaito support the academic enrichment of the NICU staff, established by Lori and David Rousso, loving grandparents of Jack and Sam Rosenfeld.

The fund helps facilitate further communication about emerging technologies, care, and preventive mechanisms for improving newborn healthcare in the future.

"The more education the NICU staff receives, the better care they will be able to provide to patients and their families," says David. "There can be a lot of heartbreak in the NICU. Parents need good medical information and strong emotional support from the staff because the stress is so intense."

Today, Jack and Sam are happy, healthy two-and-a- half-year-old boys, who take care of each other, laugh and play, and whose cheerful nature is downright infectious.

As with most toddlers, every day is met with wide-eyed curiosity and brings new experiences. For Lori and David Rousso, every minute they spend with their grandsons is something precious. They hope many other families from the NICU will get the opportunity to experience similar joy.

For more information on supporting the fund, please contact Stephanie Bressler at stephanie.bressler@cshs.org or click here to DONATE NOW.