Three newborn babies received early Christmas gifts on December 21, when Sunnybrook veterans made a special trip to the maternal and newborn unit to present them with handcrafted stockings.
Second World War Veterans Lorne Renaud and Betty Garbutt visited each of the babies- Kira, Connor and Nivea- and their families to give them the stockings, part of an annual tradition at Sunnybrook. Forty stockings were specially created for newborn babies who are born on Christmas Day as part of an art therapy program.
Each stocking is unique and one-of-a-kind, with a small tag sewn inside containing the words, "decorated by a Sunnybrook Veteran". The stockings are a special remembrance and ensure that each newborn will "never forget" their birthplace and who their first Christmas gift was from. A small poppy is also featured at the top of each stocking.
Mr. Renaud also visited the babies last year, and says participating in the Babies in Stockings tradition is "my favourite Christmas gift."
"The Veterans just love visiting the maternal and newborn unit. This tradition is a heartfelt way of connecting Sunnybrook's past to tiny newborns," says Lorrie Clarke, Art Therapist at the Veterans Centre.
Sunnybrook's state-of-the-art Women and Babies program opened at the Bayview Campus in September 2010. The new unit specializes in high-risk pregnancy and critically premature babies. One in five babies weighing less than three pounds in Ontario are delivered at Sunnybrook.