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"Leighton's Gift" - One Family's Mission To Turn A Tragedy Into Something Positive.

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Leighton Sophie Taylor and Jaxon Cohen were born on May 26, 2011. At only 28 weeks and six days, they were tiny little fighters who amazed us and the hospital staff, on so many levels. After one week they were both off of CPap, and after two weeks they were doing well enough to no longer need additional oxygen. We just knew we were on our way to taking home our healthy miracles! Our world was rocked at 12:30 am on June 16, 2011 with a phone call. Leighton had an unusually high fever for a preemie which we would find out later was due to Late Onset Group B Strep (GBS). The infection took over her little body and she was in the arms of Jesus within 48 hours.

"Leighton's Gift" - One Family's Mission To Turn A Tragedy Into Something Positive.

The rules in the NICU are strict and for good reason. These little ones are fragile and need to have limited visitors and stimulation. One of the hardest things as a family was that no one ever got to meet our sweet angel. Even though she was only 3 weeks old, she had her own spunky personality. She always looked our way when we were there. She would kick her little foot over to us and shake it back and forth. She would “hum” (just like her twin brother) when we held her.

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It’s physically impossible for families to stay in the NICU 24/7 with their child, believe us, we tried! There had to be a way for families faced with the difficult situation of having a child admitted to the NICU to feel better connected. Companies use webcam technology to close multi-billion dollar deals ever day. How could we not leverage this same technology?

Just like that, Leighton’s Gift was born, a certified 501(c)(3) public tragedy with a mission to turn a tragedy into something positive. Even though our daughter was not physically going to be with us, she was a person and we wanted her to have a lasting legacy.

We are currently raising funds to purchase webcams for all 45 NICU beds at Texas Health Plano enabling parents contact with their baby at any time. Leighton’s Ride is currently the sole annual fundraising event benefitting Leighton’s Gift. This is a motorcycle ride that starts in Celina, TX and covers approximately 50-75 miles. A registration fee is charged for all riders. Donations are accepted and t-shirts, patches and raffle tickets are sold as an additional form of raising funds. You can see photos from the first three Leighton’s Rides here

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The webcams purchased by Leighton’s Gift allows NICU moments and milestones to be shared with families in real time even when families can’t physically be present. It is our sincere hope and prayer that Leighton’s Gift helps families who are faced with the difficult situation of a child admitted to the NICU feel more connected and comfortable when they are not able to be there in person.

To learn more about Leighton’s Gift, or to make an online donation, please visit our website at http://leightonsgift.com and check us out on Facebook and Twitter