On Saturday, September 16th NWMMB threw a party to celebrate 10 years of serving babies throughout the Pacific Northwest. It was a wonderful event full of love and support from over one hundred and fifty of our friends, both old and new.
The growth of the milk bank has been remarkable, heartwarming, wonderful and, truth be told, a wild ride. As often happens when you hit the ground running it can be difficult to stop and savor the milestones. That was part of what made the night so special – an opportunity to pause, breathe, and truly appreciate our success.
Love shines bright!
The Armory at Portland Center Stage provided a beautiful backdrop for the evening. The twinkling ceiling lights, dramatic balloon-filled staircase, delicious wine from Et Fille and dessert bar were a perfect combination. We enjoyed music from Roots & All, a bluegrass trio, who coincidentally played at our grand opening in 2013. The night was magical.
Our guests take the stage!
Serving as our Master of Ceremonies, staffer Brynn Tran shared NWMMB history and our decade-long impact in Northwest communities. Brynn’s warm and enthusiastic message delighted the crowd. Brynn has worn many hats at NWMMB, including Recipient Coordinator. We are adding “party host” to her job description!
We were honored to have three amazing women share their experience and connection to milk banking. Dr. Maryanne Perrin, human milk researcher, shared some of the scientific wonders of human milk. Did you know human milk contains fiber? Or that the nutrients in milk change as a baby grows? Katie Joy Duke, author, life coach and breast cancer survivor, shared her experience of being a milk donor after the loss of her daughter Poppy. Katie’s healing journey is honest, heart-breaking, and inspiring. She has captured the entire story in her book, Still Breathing. Our final speaker was Margaret Gritten, whose son Basil received donor milk through Evie’s Fund, bravely told her story. Margaret gave birth to twins Basil and Abel at 23 weeks' gestation. Navigating months in the NICU, she was an amazing advocate for her boys and for Basil’s on-going need for human donor milk after hospital discharge. Many emotions from sadness to joy were felt during the night’s program.
A final highlight of our program was a video of some of our donor milk recipients who Brynn had a chance to interview now that they are “all grown-up”.Seeing these amazing children talk about what they are up to now after receiving donor milk as infants was a joy! We are appreciative of Nicole Scribner, videographer, for filming and creating this unique video. The video is available on YouTube and can be found here.
Community Care Benefits from Community Kindness!
Over the last 10 years, NWMMB has worked to build community care programs to benefit families who need access to breastfeeding support and donor milk. Financial support keeps these critical programs running:
Evie’s Fund provides donor milk to infants with long-term medical needs when processing fees are a barrier.
Rapid Relief serves as a bridge for families who need donor milk on an immediate short-term basis.
Expression of Care works to eliminate barriers for parents in Oregon who choose to provide breastmilk for their infant despite incarceration and separation.
Pump Rentals are available to nursing parents at affordable and sliding scale rates.
Community generosity raised over $24,700.00 which will directly improve access to donor milk when a baby needs it the most. Thank you to everyone who attended this joyous occasion, raised a paddle, or purchased an arm’s length of tickets to win one of our amazing baskets. We can’t thank you enough!
Cheers to You!
It is not lost on us that the people make the party! Your smiling faces and enthusiasm made us so happy. We loved seeing you shine in the glow of the MILK lights. Our ambassador, Millie the Milk Drop, enjoyed her evening by hugging, hi-fiving, and photo bombing the crowd. View some of our favorite photos of the night here.
Thank you to our Sponsors and Supporters!
We are so grateful to our sponsors and the many companies who made our night so special. Providence Health System was a major sponsor for our event. We are grateful for their continued support and belief in the use of donor milk for Northwest babies.
*photos courtesy of Kyle Rosso