How do you find happiness in your golden years? For Louis Mapp—a father of three, a grandfather of eight, and a great-grandfather of two, from Fairhope, Alabama, his answer would be “helping others unconditionally.”
Every Tuesday, the 81-year-old drives 45 minutes to USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, to cuddle, feed, and burp premature and critically ill babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
This human bonding session is important for babies whose parents aren’t able to be at the hospital, said NICU nurse manager Renee Rogers, according to Associated Press.
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In fact, Mapp has been rocking babies for the past one and a half year, and he couldn’t be happier seeing their innocent smiles.
“I love to look at their expressions when I rock them,” Mapp told WKRG-TV.
While volunteering his time at the hospital, Mapp saw firsthand how the dedicated medical staff in NICU work to save the babies’ lives.
“I’m 81 years old, and one of the neatest things I’ve ever done is being around those precious babies, and the nurses that take care of them,” he said in an interview with PEOPLE.
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Hence, Mapp and his wife, Melinda, donated $1 million to the NICU of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital through the Mapp Family Foundation.
“We wanted something long after we are gone, something to support these precious people and their families,” Mapp said.
“And the endowment will be there, long after we’re gone, to keep providing funds for them.”
With the Mapps’ donation, the hospital will be able to purchase equipment, such as Leo Beds—special beds for the tiniest premature babies—that cost $50,000 per unit.
Melinda and Louis Mapp donated $1,055,000 to @USACWHospital‘s NICU, where he spends time each week rocking babies. Learn more about the couple’s gift to a unit that admits 900 premature or critically ill newborns each year: https://t.co/Hreq4xilYp #WeAreSouth pic.twitter.com/igjAT4w9so
— U of South Alabama (@UofSouthAlabama) September 5, 2018
To do something for a place that “has his heart,” Mapp feels it’s an honor. And he plans to continue to share his blessings as long as he lives.
Just like Mapp, the parents also feel honored. In September 2018, Molli and Robert Potter’s son Cullen was delivered at 22 weeks and weighed only 13.9 ounces (approx. 394 grams). He was cared for by Mapp at the NICU.
“We live over an hour and a half away,” Molli Potter told the University of South Alabama. “We definitely appreciate that Mr. Mapp was able to be here and hold him and cuddle with him and that he has someone here to give him that one on one when we can’t.”
#LocalGoodness2014Longtime hospital supporter Louis Mapp said a blessing over the food before guests began eating. The…
“I’ve found Mr. Mapp to not only be a true gem, but also the time that he has volunteered is so important and means so much to our families and staff,” said Renne Rogers, NICU nurse manager at Children’s & Women’s.
“When you get my age, I’m 81, every day, I ask the Lord, ‘Show me, somebody, where I can help them,’” he said. “It may not be financially, it may be giving them a ride, or making a phone call, but I figure, while I’m here on earth, I need to do everything I can to help others.”
Mapp and his wife’s incredible generosity is an inspiration to us all. May the couple’s beautiful deeds inspire you to leave a legacy by helping others too.
Watch the video below:
We’re grateful to Louis and Melinda Mapp for donating more than $1 million to our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and for Mr. Mapp’s volunteer service to our tiniest patients. This new video highlights the Mapp’s special relationship with recent NICU grad Cullen Potter, born at 22 weeks, who graduated Aug. 21 after spending five months in our care.
Posted by USA Children's & Women's Hospital on Thursday, September 6, 2018