ENTERPRISE, AL (WSFA) - Fundraising efforts by the Astemborski family to purchase a CuddleCot have finally come to fruition.
"I never thought in less than two months after we started the Go Fund Me we would be here donating the CuddleCot," said Kristy Astemborski.
The idea to purchase a CuddleCot was born from the tragic and unexpected loss of their baby girl, Kennedy. At 39 weeks, Kennedy was a still born.
"This fundraiser has been the best, positive experience and memory I've had for my daughter," said Astemborski.
On Thursday, the family donated a CuddleCot device to Medical Center Enterprise in Kennedy's memory. The cooling device helps preserve a baby and extends the time a family can spend saying goodbye. Kristy only had hours to spend with baby Kennedy after she was born.
"If we had had this it would have made a world of difference," said Astemborski.
Now, families will have days.
"We want that mother and father or that family to have as much time holding that baby as possible. So what the CuddleCot allows, instead of giving you 6 hours, you're able to be with that baby up to five days," said Suzanne Woods, CEO of Medical Center Enterprise.
"When we actually received the CuddleCot in the mail I was so excited it was at my house, but I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to let it go.' It was like I had to give her up all over again, but I've turned it into I'm giving it up for a positive reason to help other families," said Astemborski.
At Thursday's donation ceremony, Kristy's family, friends, and hospital staff released butterflies and 39 balloons. Each balloon represented a week Kennedy spent growing in her mother's stomach. The CuddleCot will allow Kennedy to provide comfort to families she didn't get a chance to meet. This is the only CuddleCot in the Wiregrass region.