OCEANPORT, NJ - Michael’s Feat, a local charity that provides support to families carrying and caring for seriously ill newborns, will host their 18th Annual “A Day at the Races” Family Picnic on Sunday, August 26th, at Monmouth Park. The event will be attended by supporters of the non-profit including many previous Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) graduates who were helped by the charity during their time of need and continue to come out each year.
“The annual picnic is a special event for us because it is a chance for NICU families to reunite and celebrate how far their children have come,” said Dana Puharic, founder of Michael’s Feat. “I look forward to seeing how much the children grow each year and getting the chance to bring families together to raise money to support other families in need. We all have a special bond that you can see and feel at our picnic.”
Michael's Feat was founded by Adam and Dana Puharic and named in loving memory of their newborn son, Michael Gerard Puharic, who was born on July 29, 2000 and died 83 hours later due to a chromosome disorder known as Trisomy 13. The charity is dedicated to providing comfort and easing the burden for parents carrying and caring for seriously ill newborns in Monmouth and Ocean counties. To date, Michael’s Feat has helped hundreds of families and raised over $1.5 million dollars.
Michael’s Feat will honor the Krean Family of Beachwood with the Heather Rose Kiss Tribute of Courage Award. Ty and Susan Krean are the proud parents of five boys including 24 weekers Holden, Wyatt and Sawyer. During Susan’s 24 week ultrasound, the doctor noticed the babies were not developing properly and detected that two of the three babies had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome [TTTS] where one baby had six times the amount of fluid as the other, and as a result was showing signs of cardiac distress. Susan was flown to the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston Texas, a specialty hospital that would perform an operation to one of the babies in utero, hoping to resolve the issue, and giving all three boys a better chance to thrive. While the doctors prepped Susan for surgery, her water broke, and she delivered the triplets — Wyatt, Sawyer, and Holden — 16 weeks early, each weighing only one pound. At two weeks of age, Sawyer passed away in his mother’s loving arms in the NICU, due to complications of prematurity. Susan spent the next five and a half months at the Texas NICU with Holden and Wyatt while Ty returned home to New Jersey to care for their older sons, Aiden and Oliver. After their five and a half months in the Texas NICU, Wyatt and Holden were transported by an air medical transport team to Newark Beth Israel NICU where, for another month, they’d continued to grow stronger before coming home. Michael’s Feat provided funds to help support their trip home.
“I was referred to the Michael’s Feat website by another parent when the boys were in Texas and after I filled out the form I got a check in the mail shortly after and a phone call from Dana,” Ty Krean. “I was shocked at how easy and amazing it was for them to reach out and help us when everything else at that time was so difficult. Dana continued to check in on us for the months to come, it was not just a one time thing, her support has been amazing.”
Today, the one year old boys continue to fight and defy odds as they advance in their many therapies, reach milestones and wean off of the medical equipment and feeding tubes they came home with from the hospital. Holden is the sassy brother with a ton of energy who is rolling over, working on sitting up, giving high fives, blowing kisses and laughing with big smiles. Wyatt, who is more mellow and go with the flow, has been crawling and working on standing up and has started to bottle feed.
“Michael’s Feat is an incredible cause that connects parents of preemies and medically fragile children,” said Susan Krean. “If you have not lived through this you really have no idea and it’s so refreshing to meet people who truly understand what you are going through without the need for long explanations who can empathize with your journey because they have been there too.”
For more information and tickets, please visit www.michaelsfeat.org.