Couple honors grandson through gift to Sanford Health NICU

Room at neonatal intensive care unit named after J.P., who was born 14 weeks prematurely.

Doug Griffin, M.D., and his wife, Mary, cherished every moment with their third grandchild. Born 14 weeks early, the newborn was so tiny and fragile, the Griffins could only touch his hand.

“He was very critically ill right from the start,” said Dr. Griffin, vice president medical officer at Sanford Health Fargo. “Unfortunately, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong in the first three days.

“Eventually they made the decision to withdraw support,” he said. James Pierre “J.P.” Mink died in December 2015.

To this day, the Griffins still think about little J.P.

“The experience was impactful for us and we felt we wanted to do something,” Dr. Griffin said.

So when an opportunity through the Sanford Health Foundation presented itself, they couldn’t pass it up.

The Griffins pledged $50,000 to support the Sanford Partners Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sanford Children’s Hospital in honor of J.P. The gift provided a NICU patient room sponsorship that is recognized on a placard at the entry to the room.

It was a surprise gift to J.P.’s parents, Zach and Martha Mink, on what would have been their son’s 2nd birthday.

“We explained that this was something we wanted to do and let them know we wanted to honor J.P.,” Dr. Griffin said. “They really liked the fact that other parents and their children and babies staying in the room would see J.P.’s name and he would never be forgotten.”

Gifts to the Sanford Health NICU help provide the state-of-the-art equipment and advanced training the team needs to care for more babies born too soon.

Dr. Griffin said they are grateful to be a part of Sanford Health’s mission and help local families.

“We really wanted to support the great work happening here and this new facility, and give children here every opportunity,” he said. “We wanted to be good stewards of what has been given to us.”

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Posted In Children's, Foundation, Health Information

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