MESA, AZ - Hundreds of families reunited Saturday with the medical staff that helped their children during their first weeks, and even months, of life.
Cardon Children's Medical Center nurses, doctors and other support staff got to spend time catching up with those treated in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which takes care of babies born ill or prematurely.
For Sheridan and Dallas Rowley, it was a chance to thank the staff that helped them through a difficult 78 days. Their son Hayden, now a year old, was born prematurely.
"There are two million things that can possibly go wrong and one or two of them happen and you're not sure if it's going to be ok," Dallas said. "Every day is a new journey."
For many of the approximately 300 families who attended, the event was a chance to reconnect with people with whom they shared some of the most stressful moments of their lives.
"You basically feel like you're part of their family," said Dr. Stephanie Castrillo. "You see them every day. You're there for the good times and the bad times."
"[The NICU staff] are everything to me," said Praveena Vatte, whose two children spent months in the hospital before they were well enough to go home. "We think of them every day. We pray for them every day."