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NICU mom uses pain to strengthen bond with women

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Veroniqca Kozel has encountered loss and heartbreak, but she has used that pain to motivate her in her position as event coordinator with Emma’s Footprints. Emma’s Footprints plans events and fundraisers for families who have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit or have experienced the loss of an infant.

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Event Coordinator Veroniqca Kozel and her son Brody look at locations for a future fundraiser.

By Chicago Crusader

Veroniqca Kozel has encountered loss and heartbreak, but she has used that pain to motivate her in her position as event coordinator with Emma’s Footprints.

Emma’s Footprints plans events and fundraisers for families who have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit or have experienced the loss of an infant.

Kozel gave birth to her son Brody nine years ago. After his birth, Brody spent 15 months in the NICUs at Comer Children’s Hospital and Riley Children’s Hospital.

“He was born only one pound and 1.9 ounces. He was considered a micro-preemie,” said Kozel.

Following Brody’s time in the NICU, Kozel suffered from two 20-week miscarriages. It was during this time that Kozel looked for support in her community. She found Emma’s Footprints and attended her first event.

“I attended Emma’s Footprints first Wave of Light in 2016. That’s where I met Amelia [Kowalisyn],” said Kozel. She quickly formed a friendship with Kowalisyn, the founder of Emma’s Footprints.

Through 2017, Kozel became increasingly involved in the organization but wanted to give more. Kozel combined her passion for helping others and her love of celebrations by becoming the event coordinator last summer. Her current focus is on the second annual Mother’s Day Brunch.

“I love the Mother’s Day Brunch because it’s all about giving back, not fundraising. It’s centered around women and the similar struggle they’ve gone through,” said Kozel.

This year’s Mother’s Day Brunch will be held on May 19 at Innsbrook Country Club. Kozel is still looking for donations for door prizes and gift bags for the attendees.

For more information about how to donate to the Mother’s Day Brunch, email emmasfootprints@gmail.com.

Emma’s Footprints is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families with babies in the NICU and educating the community about infant loss from pregnancy through infancy.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.

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