CHICAGO (CBS) — One in ten babies in Illinois is born premature and the cost for neonatal intensive care is substantial.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports a new website allows individuals to help pitch in to help with the costs of care and book a stay for the tiniest patients.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Sunny And Dry With A Gradual Warmup
“Say ‘I’m the world’s tiniest champion!’” said Tyelia Grayson of Englewood, speaking to her newborn baby son.
Grayson and her newborn can now bond in a loving embrace, but for baby Tyler, he wasn’t always able to.
“When I look at him, I think about how good God is ‘cause he came a long way,” Tyelia said.
Tyelia Grayson was only 26 weeks along in her pregnancy when Tyler was born in February.
Tyler weighed just a pound and a half when he was born.
“When you have so many emotions going on in your head, it’s hard to even understand how you feel,” stated Tyelia.
Tyler was one of the 400 premies treated each year at Stroeger Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“He had so many tubes everywhere, I couldn’t count,” recalled Tyelia. “I couldn’t see his eyes because they were covered.”READ MORE: At Least 5 People Killed, 45 Wounded In Gun Violence In Chicago So Far This Weekend
The specialized care for premies is expensive, costing up to $4,000 per night.
A new website at Stroeger allows others to help families struggling to afford that, as well as other costs.
The TiniestListing.com lets donors pitch in on the hospital stays for premature babies.
Doctors describe the site as an Air B and B for premies.
“It takes a village to raise a kid and this is kind of like a village kind of thing,” stated Dr. Mope Akintorin of Stroeger Medical Center.
“It’s very heartwarming to know that there are other people out there who care about someone they don’t even know,” said Tyelia.
Tyler is growing well, but will most likely be in the hospital through July until his breathing improves.
His mom says she’s thankful for his health and the help of others at a difficult time.MORE NEWS: Fight Over Counterfeit Tickets Sends 3 People Crashing Through Window At Congress Hotel Near Lollapalooza
“He’s making it, if you ask me, he is doing better than me!” Tyelia said.