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Giving back: On special day, former NICU mom helps St. Luke's families with gift bags 

Alyssa Higbee, center, stands with the gift bags she delivered to the St. Luke's NICU, flanked by her sisters Cassidy Snodgrass and Tiffany Higbee.
By Dave Southorn, News and Community
June 7, 2024

Though it was, at the time, a stressful experience, Alyssa Higbee left St. Luke’s Magic Valley early in 2023 with her newborn son, Maverick, with an idea on how to give back.

Maverick was born early and spent some time in the NICU, but just after being able to leave, he was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. It took nearly three months for him to be able to come home.

Maverick while in the NICU at St. Luke's Magic Valley.

“We spent Christmas in the NICU and I remember just how hard it is to be a new mom in the NICU and not getting to spend your first moments with the babies at home snuggling,” Higbee said.

Today, Maverick is a healthy toddler who turned 1 in November and his mom hatched an idea earlier this year remembering the experience.

“I have a huge heart for the NICU families and the nurses and doctors that take care of those babies,” Higbee said. “I wouldn’t have my baby if it weren’t for the nurses and doctors of the NICU (and) PICU.”

Higbee thought of those parents and wanted to help, so she had planned to put together gift baskets for each family that had a child currently in the NICU at St. Luke’s. She also thought a great time for it to come together — Mother’s Day.

Higbee solicited donations from multiple businesses, including gift cards for food, snacks and baby items like pacifiers and bows. She and her sisters also bought journals, pens, necklaces, coffee gift cards, snacks, lip balm, lotion, sanitizer and socks.

Alyssa Higbee's sisters helping put together the gift baskets.

All told, they put together 35 gift baskets and delivered them before Mother’s Day to St. Luke’s Boise for distribution there, along with Magic Valley, Nampa and Meridian.

“I hope our little gesture of the gift baskets lightened the burden that those moms had being in the NICU during Mother’s Day,” Higbee said.

It certainly did — and also meant a lot to the St. Luke’s team.

“We all thought it was incredibly thoughtful and generous for these women to take the time out of their day to provide gifts and support for the current moms who have babies here in the NICU,” said April Zasio, a health unit coordinator in the Boise NICU.

“Support to parents while they have a child in an intensive care unit is so important to them and their health as well so they are able to support their child the best they can.”

About The Author

Dave Southorn works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.