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ROCKFORD — Mercyhealth Development Foundation held its annual Holiday Give a Gift Drive on Dec. 10, raising more than $12,500 in gift cards and monetary donations to benefit patients and families of the neonatal intensive care unit at Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside. Generous donors at the drive-through event enjoyed a special visit from Santa and received a holiday cookie making kit as a token of gratitude. 

The gift cards will be given to families to help offset hotel, gas and restaurant expenses they face while their babies are in the NICU, sometimes for weeks or months at a time. 

Monetary donations from sponsors and private donors will go toward the purchase of two SNOO Smart Sleepers. These interactive devices are used to help babies suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to neonatal abstinence syndrome. They soothe preemies and infants by rocking them and respond to the infant’s level of fussiness, speeding up and slowing down in direct response to the baby’s movements. Because of the pandemic, Mercyhealth’s volunteers are not allowed in the NICU, making the SNOO Smart Sleeper a much-needed aid to soothe drug-exposed infants. 

Mercyhealth Development Foundation extends its gratitude to all the individuals and businesses who donated gift cards or made a monetary donation to the 2021 Holiday Give a Gift Drive, including premier sponsors MD-1 Physicians and Rohlik Financial Group.  

Monetary donations are being accepted until Dec. 31. Visit to learn more. For more information about Mercyhealth Development Foundation, visit