Something as simple as a hug can do wonders for a person, especially those who are fighting for their lives.
Every Tuesday and Thursday for the past 12 years, David Deutchman has visited the NICU and PICU at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He spends his time at the hospital volunteering by sharing lots of cuddles, hugs, and love.
Deutchman spends two days a week visiting preemies at CHOA.
Deutchman enjoys the time he spends cuddling with the premature babies at the hospital, despite some of his friends questioning why he would subject himself to what sometimes can be a messy situation.
“Some of my guy friends, they ask me what I do here. And I say, ‘Well, I hold babies. I get puked on, I get peed on,’ and they say ‘why would you do that?!'” he told 11Alive. “Some people just don’t understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this.”
Even though he’s been volunteering for over a decade, the man nicknamed ICU Grandpa doesn’t tire of it. He even believes that he gets more out of the snuggle sessions than some of the babies.
“It’s been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it,” he said.
The families of the babies appreciate what Deutchman does for their children.
The babies aren’t the only ones benefitting from their time with ICU Grandpa, the children’s families have expressed their gratitude for what Deutchman does each week.
“When I saw Grandpa, I of course started crying,” MaryBeth Brulette said. “Because it was so precious and he was so cozy in his arms and Grandpa was just as happy as can be, as if it was his own grandchild.”
Deutchman is there for the babies when their families cannot be.
Brulette’s son Logan was born at 25 weeks and is currently in the PICU at CHOA. Every day for the past six weeks she drives two hours each way to visit her baby boy in the hospital. Recently when she came to visit, she saw her son cradled in NICU Grandpa’s arms.
Deutchman remarked that the experience has been “wonderful” for him. And the comments on a photo of him shared by the hospital on Facebook suggest that the families of the babies’ he has loved think so too.
“He rocked our baby for countless hours,” Kristin Cook Walker, a mother wrote on Facebook. “What a wonderful gift he has, and what a blessing it is that he shares that love with others.”