Florida family raises money for local hospital after care

MADISON, Wis (WMTV) -- A Florida family donated to a local hospital after their baby was born premature while they were in town on vacation.

The Gezella family raised $42,000 for Unitypoint Health Meriter’s Littlest Angels Program to help provide financial support for families who experience hardships.

The family said the Meriter staff is why their baby boy survived. They said the abundance of love and care is why he's alive today.

“It's a little gut-wrenching walking in the door today," Jenny Gezella said.

The hallways of Meriter’s NICU brings back memories to the Gezella family.

"I was 27 weeks pregnant at the time we decided to fly to Madison," Jenny said.

They said they wanted to take one last trip down memory lane before they had the baby, but then tragedy struck.

"I experienced some bleeding and we immediately rushed to the hospital," Jenny said.

Jenny was checked in for a pregnancy complication forcing her to deliver early. She was in the hospital for over a week and her baby boy, Beckham, was in the NICU for over two months.

"Well it's nerve-racking obviously when your world gets upside down you don't really know what to expect," Brian Gezella said.

Her husband flew back and forth between Florida and Madison for work. Jenny stayed 1000 miles away from home to stay by her baby's side. She said the Meriter staff became her second family.

"They saved and made our child be how amazing he is today and this was just was something little we could do on our behalf to do something for the people who did so much for us," Jenny said.

"This is the best part of my job is helping them a really hard time in their lives then have them go home and it's normal," Ange Mckee, Meriter Registered Nurse said.

But the Gezella family wanted to do more. So they raised money for the Littlest Angels Program.

"I'm so grateful so many people were able to make a connection with you [Gezella family] that meant something so much more than taking care of Beckham," Laura Megna, NICU family liaison said. "I'm grateful for you guys to even think of us."

The care team said the Gezella family was special so they dedicated Beckhams' NICU room to the family.

"He's absolutely perfect,” Jenny said.

As for baby Beckham, he's now a healthy, happy two-year-old full of life.

Jenny said this trip back to Madison two years later brought everything full circle.

"He is so healthy and wild and crazy like a normal two year old right now. I just think it's so nice to be back and give hugs to the people who did so much for us," Jenny said.

This is the first year the Gezella family raised money for the Littlest Angels Program and they said they hope to make it an annual fundraiser moving forward.