HS student donates more than 600 books to Boston hospital's NICU

HS student donates more than 600 books to Boston hospital's NICU

BOSTON — The neonatal intensive care unit at Brigham and Women's just got an incredible gift - just in time for Christmas.

A local high school student donated more than 600 books for parents to read to their babies.

The books were donated to the Brigham Baby Academy, an initiative started by Carmina Erdei, the director of the Growth and Development Unit at the Brigham.

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"We do think that reading and meaningful auditory exposure is medicine," said Erdei. "What we're trying to do is recreate in the NICU some of the language and some of the experiences babies would have had if they were still in their mom's womb "

When they noticed they were running low on books, Erdei reached out to Aidan Chen, a Weston High School student who had donated books before. On Monday, he dropped off 600 of them.

"I solicit donations through my GoFundMe and my local community," said Chen. "This initiative was around three months or so of donations."

Every family in the NICU gets at least one book and from there they get to take them with them once the baby gets to go home.

Wilmary Pena spends some time each day reading to her babies, Eslian and Yariel. The two were born at just 24 weeks back on Sept. 3 and have been in the Brigham and Women's NICU since then.

"They like it, they smile," said Pena. "They were supposed to be born on Christmas Eve. so that's like the greatest gift."

Sarah Wood does the same with her baby girl, Hayden, who was born on Aug. 30.

"I feel like its the one thing she really focuses on," said Wood.