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Little Footprints, Big Hearts

Avera NICU Needs Your Help

Your donation will continue providing this caliber of care and provide for updated facilities that reflect the NICU's state-of-the-art technology, statistically impressive outcomes and caring staff. Call the foundation at 605-322-8900 to learn more about the campaign and make a gift.

Make an Online Gift

Thanks to generous gifts from loyal supporters, businesses and employees, the new Avera NICU opened in the fall of 2015 and includes a number of amenities and improved technology to better serve the community.

Over $3 million was raised through the Little Footprints, Big Hearts: Campaign for Avera NICU and the Avera McKennan Foundation continues to rely on philanthropic support to fund ongoing needs and opportunities that ensure quality care is available to all.

NEW! NICU Receives Matching Gift

It's said to be the closest thing to being there and thanks to a lead matching gift from Interstate Office Products, Gary and Theresa Gaspar and Sheila Casiello, this new revolutionary technology will be available to patients and families at the Avera NICU.

Plans to purchase and install a revolutionary webcam system will allow parents to feel more connected with their newborn, even when they're physically separate. The system is a sophisticated, online, live video streaming service which enables parents to see and bond with their newborn from a distance. It is also a valuable clinical tool for guided neonatal care.

Parents and clinical staff are issued with a username and password to log into their account online. The account is linked to a single camera, mounted at the bedside where parents can watch their baby for as long and as often as they wish, helping to strengthen familial bonds. Videos can be streamed on laptops, mobiles, tablets, etc., and herald the era of ‘virtual visiting’.

Thank you to our generous donors for making a lead gift and to loyal community supporters for their philanthropic efforts to make this type of care possible.

Make a Gift Today!

About the Campaign for Avera NICU

One in ten babies requires neonatal intensive care. The Little Footprints, Big Hearts campaign for Avera Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was launched in 2014 to meet the community's growing demands through quality care delivered with Christian values.


Mason's Story

At her 20-week ultrasound, first-time mother Jessica Bierschbach happily thought of learning her child's gender and seeing the first "baby pictures." Instead she left her doctor's office shocked by the knowledge that she carried an antibody that would threaten the life of her unborn child.

Thanks to the care they received, baby Mason was delivered via C-section weighing a mere 1 pound, 3 ounces. Yet he continued to reach his milestones during his 90-day stay. Today, he is a happy, healthy little boy who tests highly in his cognitive ability and vocabulary.

A Growing Need
The current NICU was designed 20 years ago. In light of advancing technology and care practices, as well as growth of our program, an updated NICU will be constructed at a new location within Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health System.

Based on the growth of more than 5,500 births at Avera, the NICU capacity requirements are dramatically increasing to more than 500 per year. Facility enhancements and additions include:

  • convenience of having the entire NICU unit located on one floor rather than the current layout which spans two floors.
  • accommodations for parents, who often stay at the hospital throughout the day and overnight, when their work and family commitments allow.
  • added privacy for families during one of the most stressful times in their lives.

Quality Outcomes
An expert care team, advanced technology and best practices are already in place. With your help, Avera McKennan will provide a space that better accommodates the benefits of optimal care for its tiniest patients. Giraffe incubators provide the best possible oxygen-enriched,temperature-controlled micro-environment for babies. The eNICU consults extend neonatology specialty care across miles through interactive video and computer technology.

Support Avera NICU Today!


Our staff would love to visit with you to answer any questions you may have about donating or about the Avera McKennan Foundation and our programs. Please feel free to call us at 605-322-8900, or you can contact us via email.

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