Lake Norman & Mooresville

Girl, 5, raises money for premature babies

Once a tiny premature baby, 5-year-old Izzi Gorden is giving in a big way: by raising $1,500 so far for the ward that saved her life.

With the help of mom, Carole, Izzi is raising money for "the little babies at the hospital" - those in Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - by selling lemonade and tie-dyed children's clothing at area outdoor concerts.

They plan to be at Davidson Green Day festival on Sept. 18.

"You never forget the ones that helped you," said Carole Gorden, whose family lives in White Oak development of Charlotte. "They took a really delicate time in our lives and made it OK."

Izzi was born four weeks early in December 2004. She had low blood sugar and low platelets, and her blood wasn't clotting properly. The doctors decided to keep her in the NICU to make sure she didn't have any infections.

Carole Gorden said it was a traumatic experience for her and her husband Todd, 47, who had no other children. But she does remember the quality care they received, despite staffing cuts because of the holidays.

"As much of a negative and upsetting experience it was, it became a super positive experience because of the way we were treated," said Carole, 41.

Since Izzi was premature, the Gordens hadn't prepared for their hospital stay. When Carole needed a breast pump after midnight, a nurse helped her find one right then.

On the 10th day of her stay, Izzi's blood started clotting and they were released from the hospital.

"You look at all these babies and wonder how something so tiny is ever going to survive it," said Carole. "It's truly amazing how resilient infants are."

Art Payne, a doctor in the NICU, who treated Izzi five years ago, said any donation from the Gordens will be put to good use and is quite appreciated, especially in light of the ongoing expansion of the maternity and newborn services at CMC-Pineville.