Orange Park, FL - Saturday, May 4th Orange Park Medical Center had a lot of little survivors running around the hospital at their annual NICU Reunion event. This year the hospital held their 3rd annual NICU reunion where NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) graduates came back to the hospital to reunite with the doctors and nurses that provided care to their tiny little ones during their first days, and in some cases weeks, of life.

The annual event is something both patients and the team at Orange Park Medical Center look forward to every year.

Neonatologist Dr. Craig Sussman said "It means so much to our hospital and our team to see this kind of support. I'm so privileged and honored to work with such an amazing team and even more honored to work with all of the families that that attend this event each year."

A stay in the NICU can be caused by varying reasons including prematurity, respiratory distress, infection, low blood sugar and other conditions in both the mother and newborn.

Cyndi and Larry Hunt, parents of twins Grayson and Jackson spoke at the event along with two other families. The Hunts had tried for many years to have children and were finally blessed with twins that arrived 8-weeks early. Mom Cyndi shared their journey with the crowd and shared that it was such an inspiration to see all the big kids walking around at the event knowing how small they all were. The couple plans to attend every year as their boys age.

The day was filled with fun activities for the children including ambulance and helicopter tours, a NICU room exploration station allowing the children to see the tiny diapers, bottles and the equipment needed to care for NICU babies, face painting, balloon artists and games.

Orange Park Medical Center recently completed a $2.9 million expansion that added 2,100 square foot to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The expansion provided five additional NICU beds to the already existing unit. The new beds are equipped to address either level II or level III newborn care, providing the ability to care for babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation and 1,000 grams as well as babies born with critical illness, at all gestational ages. Orange Park Medical Center is expecting to begin operating as a level III NICU sometime this summer.