Turning Experience into Inspiration
On Nov. 10, Katrina Gomez and her son, Wyatt, 2, presented the Florida Neonatal Neurologic Network (FN3) – led by UF Health neonatologist Michael Weiss, MD – with proceeds from “Lasso for Little Ones,” a fundraiser the family started to support FN3 and the March of Dimes.
More than 100 people attended the first annual event, held Oct. 11 at the Gilchrist County Rodeo Arena, to raise nearly $4,000. Attendees enjoyed children’s activities, food and entertainment, and even a goat roping activity.
Katrina was inspired to create the fundraiser after spending 11 weeks with Wyatt in the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. It was there that the Gomez family formed a strong bond with Dr. Weiss and learned about FN3, whose mission is to provide state-of-the-art care for newborn babies with brain injuries, and to collect research and develop future therapies to improve long-term outcomes.
When Katrina gave birth to Wyatt at 29 weeks gestation, he was transferred to UF Health Children’s Hospital from Ocala due to lack of oxygen during delivery. She was told that if he survived, he was expected to have brain injury.
After 11 weeks, Wyatt was able to go home one day after his due date on April 26, 2012. The goal was for him to leave the hospital healthy, and it was achieved. Because of Wyatt’s strong-willed determination and the prompt actions of the NICU physicians, nurses and support staff, Wyatt’s only lasting effect of his premature birth is asthma.