Reunion gathers families with a shared bond.
On Oct. 22, Anthony and Manny Green, along with parents Joyce and Benny, will be headed to a reunion.
It’s not a family reunion – but something pretty close.
It’s the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System NICU and PICU Reunion. The Greens, along with other families, will visit with SRHS staff members who cared for children like Anthony and Manny at critical stages of their young lives and loved them as their own.
Born prematurely at only 1 pound and 9 ounces, Manny spent the first six months of his life in the Spartanburg Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Manny didn’t have any visitors during his stay, and one of the SRHS respiratory therapists “was his mother figure,” said his adoptive mother, Joyce. She even gave the tiny infant a name – Michael.
When the Greens adopted the boy in 2015, they named him Emmanuel, calling him Manny for short. They kept Michael as his middle name.
The Greens adopted Anthony in 2012 after he was in the Spartanburg Medical Center Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). He had suffered a severe brain injury. Doctors believed he may not live.
“He’s a miracle,” Benny said.
PICU staff members, who still keep a picture of Anthony on the wall in the unit, were brought to tears the first time he came back to visit. When he left the hospital at age 2, Anthony could not walk or talk. But he was a determined little boy and, after several months and with the dedication of his mother and support from SRHS Pediatric Rehabilitation therapists, he had gained the strength and skill to walk into the PICU to see his former caregivers.
“He started singing and dancing for them. They were weeping, calling other staff members and saying, ‘You’ve got to come see this. You won’t believe it,’” Joyce said.
Anthony is now 8, and Manny is 3. Both boys face ongoing developmental challenges, but they are growing, active and outgoing. They love their parents and each other.
‘Like part of the family’
The Greens will join other families whose children were cared for in the NICU and PICU at Spartanburg Medical Center.
“The SRHS staff members do a great job at the NICU/PICU Reunion. They make the kids feel good, like they are part of a family,” said Benny Green.
Benny is pastor of Northbrook Baptist Church in the Boiling Springs area. He and Joyce have other children – all but one who are grown. Caring for special needs children has brought “a new dimension, new challenges,” Benny said.
The love the two boys give back to their parents makes the Greens grateful to have Anthony and Manny in their lives. And they attribute the boys’ emotional grounding, in large part, to the members of the NICU and PICU teams at Spartanburg Regional.
“They were just wonderful,” Joyce said. “They were mama and daddy to them before we could become their mama and daddy.”
The NICU/PICU Reunion will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the SRHS Child Development Center, will feature a fall festival atmosphere. Children are encouraged to wear costumes. For more information about the free event, visit SpartanburgRegional.com/Events.