Sometimes, we need some heartwarming and inspiring stories to read, especially on days that feel hard to move or get up or smile (like today). This is why I can’t get enough of how kind David Deutchman is–and the light he brings into the world.
So, what does he do, exactly? He volunteers at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospital, which he’s been doing for the past 12 years. What he does there is amazing: He cradles babies and preemies in the hospital recovering from illness, premature birth, and/or procedures, also providing comfort to parents.
Recently, the hospital’s Facebook page offered a tribute to him:
“They call him the ICU Grandpa. On Tuesdays, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day. On Thursdays, he makes rounds in the NICU.
This photo was taken by baby Logan’s mom as she fought back happy tears. Logan has been in our hospital for six weeks. Every night, his mom goes home to be with his big sister. Every morning, she drives back to Scottish Rite feeling ‘anxious that he’s been missing his mommy.’ On this particular morning, she walked into the PICU to find Logan—a preemie born at just 25 weeks—in the arms of David, who smiled and introduced himself as the ICU Grandpa. This photo captures just one precious moment with a legend of a hospital volunteer who’s been holding patients, and their parents’ hands, for 12 years.”
Deutchman explained, however, that some of his male friends “just don’t get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this” in a video interview. The reward for the baby, of course, is invaluable.
Elizabeth Mittiga, a NICU nurse at the hospital, explained to CNN that human physical contact and affection “definitely helps them to, I think, grow faster and put more weight on, and feeding-wise, can help them digest their feeds better and things like that.”
Of course, Deutchman put it best himself: “The good times have been spending six months with a family, and the kid had ups and downs, and the kid came out great. Now the kid is 4 or 5 years old and is terrific. Those are the stories I love…”
If only there were more people like this in the world, not as many tragedies would occur.