RBaby Foundation Fundraiser & Gala

by Jessica Shyba on May 14, 2012

in City Life,Events,Fashion and Style,New York,Parenting,Style

Since my family moved to NYC, we’ve had our share of Emergency room visits. From Jack’s asthma and food allergies to minor accidents (we went just this weekend even after Jack smacked his face on a slide), we’ve made many unwanted and stressful trips to various different emergency rooms in New York City. For whatever reason, prior to moving away from our family and familiar doctors we only visited the emergency room twice: Once when Jack fell and hit his temple at the park, and once when Zoe was just four months old. On the first evening of our vacation in Lake Tahoe the first winter after she was born, Zoe spiked a fever and began having febrile seizures. We ended up in the emergency room of a very small hospital with our tiny baby and our less than two year old son. After 15 punctures for blood, a spinal tap and having her catheterized (all of which-aside from the spinal tap-were performed by nurses that admitted to having zero experience with infants), we were allowed to take our bruised and exhausted baby home. We still don’t know what caused her white blood cell count to triple, but she hasn’t had a recurrent febrile seizure since.

What has stayed with me, and will forever peak my anxiety when visiting emergency rooms with children, was the inexperience and lack of preparedness of that emergency department.

It had never even occurred to me that emergency rooms wouldn’t be equipped to handle infants and pediatrics, but here is what is the most startling:

One in five children will make one or more visits to an ED each year according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

According to a study conducted by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, 89% of pediatric (ages: 0–14 years) emergency department visits occur in non-children’s hospitals, and 6 percent of the 1,489 emergency rooms that responded to the survey were equipped for pediatrics.

(This video sends tingles down my spine and brings tears to my eyes. It’s so important to watch though)

Needless to say when I was asked to be an RBaby Mom, I accepted quickly and graciously.

The RBaby Foundation was established in 2006 by Phyllis & Andrew Rabinowitz to organize and fund efforts to improve the outcomes of medical care for infants, particularly those who contract certain viral infections within the first month of life. The R Baby Foundation is dedicated to helping newborn babies with often-misunderstood viral infections and other infectious diseases receive the highest quality of care and service through supporting education, research, treatment, training and life-saving equipment.

This PSA was filmed in New York City with some of my most favorite people. I wasn’t able to attend because of child care issues, but I couldn’t be happier to share it with you:

I was asked along with the other RBaby Moms to attend the RBaby Foundation’s annual gala at The Plaza Hotel. This year, they honored my dear friend Julia Beck of Forty Weeks with their first ever Champion Award, fitting because she is a champion for ALL mothers and an absolute RBaby Foundation warrior.

As RBaby Moms, a handful of us were invited to attend the gala last week to personally honor and support Julia and the RBaby Foundation. This meant getting decked out to the nines in our fanciest gear and toasting our friends, the Rabinowitzs and each and every one of you that have supported and/or will support by signing the RBaby Petition to improve pediatric emergency care.

I don’t do this often (ever), so it was fun to get fancy for such an amazing cause.

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Jill Seiman of Glamamom, Julia Beck of Forty Weeks and myself

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Julia Beck of Forty Weeks

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My Travona dress and Kadie shoes are courtesy of Lauren Ralph Lauren

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Incredible venue, The Plaza Hotel
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Amazing food from the likes of Per Se, Gramercy Tavern, and Aureole
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Phyllis Rabinowitz
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Myself, Jill Seiman of Glamamom, Amy Oztan of Selfish Mom, and Melissa Chapman of The Staten Island Family with the most beautiful GlassyBaby candles in the background.

It was truly a beautiful event, but most importantly it was great to see so many people come together to support the RBaby Foundation, honor Julia, and ultimately save the lives of babies.

To sign the petition: Go HERE (it takes 30 seconds. Really).

To find some interesting and helpful tips posted by the RBaby Foundation, go HERE.

To donate to the RBaby Foundation, go HERE.

To purchase GlassyBaby candles (a truly inspirational company as well, founded by 3 time cancer survivor and mother Lee Rhodes) go HERE.

And finally special thank you to the incredible Rebecca Levey of Beccarama and KidzVuz for organizing us RBaby Moms.

Our experiences visiting the emergency rooms here in New York City with our children have been nothing short of wonderful in terms of organization, the staff and the swiftness in which we were cared for. I feel lucky for this, especially given the statistics mentioned earlier.

I hope none of you ever have to visit an ER with your children, but if you do, wouldn’t you just want and expect them to be equipped for pediatrics? I welcome and encourage you to share your stories!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia May 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Jessica,
Thank you for stepping up for RBF and for me! You are a beautiful, shining beacon for all that is positive, optimistic and in need of focus and care. I am lucky to count you as a friend!

Reply

Becca Shaw May 15, 2012 at 1:31 am

Phyllis is an old dear friend of mine and I cry every time I see this video. I’m so glad you’re a part of this foundation. And you’ve inspired me to step up again. Thanks for sharing all you’ve done and what the foundation has done.

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Julie May 15, 2012 at 1:45 am

What a great foundation and that gala looks AMAZING!!! It looks like you had an awesome night out. Just started reading your blog and LOVE LOVE LOVE it-don’t live in NYC, but in the NJ suburbs and I love reading about you raising your children in the city, I’m impressed!

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LoretteLavine May 15, 2012 at 3:35 am

This is a problem throughout the country since many hospitals have closed their pediatric units due to insurance cut backs and shortened hospital stays for everyone.
No one wants to admit their child into to a hospital unless they are very sick and when a child is very sick you better head to the nearest hospital that has a dedicated pediatric unit with pediatricians and pediatric surgeons on staff.
Even the hospital where your baby was born may not have a pediatric staffed ED.
R Baby Foundation is certainly a cause that every parent should want to support in some way…you never know when you will have to visit an ED with your child.
Thanks for letting us know about this issue.

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Glamamom May 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Jess, I had SO much fun catching up and hobnobbing with you! Sorry to read you learned first hand how important the cause is but I know you feel as empowered as I do raising awareness and working towards a change.

PS: I imagine you writing this post basked in candlelight ;) xo

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Melissa @The Staten Island Family May 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Such a pleasure to hang out with you!! And there is NO WAY on gd’s green earth that you just had your third precious baby! You look like a teenager;)

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Phyllis Rabinowitz May 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Wow Jessica! Thanks for your unbelievable story and support! Sorry you had to experience the lack of ED preparedness firsthand, but glad we moms are all joining together to change that. thanks again – Phyllis

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