How young fan of reading inspired library for hospital’s intensive care
At 15 months old, Quinton Bowler is already a big fan of reading.
“The first thing that Quinton does in the morning, after his bottle, is point at the bookshelf and he demands his postbreakfast book,” dad Cameron Bowler said with a smile.
He and wife Caitlin Brown are grateful for Quinton’s health after he spent the first seven weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at Victoria General Hospital, the result of being born with his liver outside his body. Three surgeries followed.
They wanted to show their thanks to the staff, who suggested a library program would fill a need.
NICU manager Gillian Kozinka said the library idea hit home for the couple “because it’s a very strong value of their family and they really love reading to Quinton.
“I’m just proud and privileged to work with families that are giving back to the NICU and want to help future families that go through this kind of journey with us here at VGH.”
The family donation, announced Friday at the hospital, has led to the creation of the Little Warriors Library, which will give books to families whose children have been in NICU.
“The care that Quinton received was nothing short of amazing and we just wanted to find a way to give back,” Cameron Bowler said. “For his first birthday, we collected donations on his behalf and this is the result.”
Monetary donations from family and friends totalled $1,000. Many books were collected, as well.
Brown said it is a “small token of our appreciation” to the NICU.
About 530 infants from Vancouver Island and around the province are treated in the unit each year, with an average stay lasting 15 days.
“We hope these books can help future parents of the NICU and children of the NICU to get a little closer.”
Kozinka said reading to babies can be a powerful tool.
“Reading to their babies is going to be such a long-term valuable gift in their long-term development,” she said.
“But it also brings parents and babies together right from the get-go whilst they’re in an NICU environment.”
Bowler said having a child in the NICU can be an incredibly stressful time, and that it can be difficult to bond with your child when they’re in an incubator.
He said that’s where reading can make a difference and help in creating a connection. “It just made sense, the whole book program.”
Cameron Bowler and Caitlin Brown with their son, Quinton, at the Little Warriors Library in Victoria General Hospital.