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The whole experience within the NICU was incredible, they saved my little girl, my wife and opened my eyes to a world that I had no idea about.  The doctors, nurses, staff, specialists and everyone else within the department have jobs that impact so many lives. Even after we left the NICU we became part of a program called “Early Intervention” in our local city.  They provided specialists in every developmental area over the early growth years of our daughter’s life. This has been critical in Rae’s overall progress.     

The Creation

of the Rae Strong Foundation

Shortly after Rae came home my wife and I wanted to find a way to give back.  Lorelee and I both coach college volleyball at Lewis University, located in Romeoville IL. The roots of the Rae Strong Foundation began with home volleyball matches and have expanded ever since.   During the first few years we would each dedicate a match towards preemies. All the money raised would go to the Loyola NICU in Chicago were Rae was born. 

After a couple years we came up with the idea to create a non-profit that had the ability to branch out a further and help families as well as other groups that support NICU babies. The Board was built from friends around us in the volleyball community and a friend made while in the Loyola NICU, Dan FioRioto, who had a son born at 22 weeks (Thomas). We formed a great relationship while visiting our children, We formed a great relationship while visiting our children, Rae and Thomas, during their time at Loyola Hospital's NICU.

With the Board in place the Foundation slowly evolved outside of Lewis University’s gym and entered different venues, other college volleyball arenas, beach and grass volleyball tournaments, golf tournaments, poker tournaments and other fundraising engagements.  Over the past 4 years we have helped several families, other preemie dedicated organizations, and provided several gifts to families and nurses during the holidays.

We are very fortunate with the many things that helped Rae and our family through a difficult period.  The goal of our foundation is to bring awareness and helpful information about the micro preemie experience as well as raise funds that can help financially. In addition, we aim to be there for anyone that needs support through shared experiences in a similar situation. 

Lorelee and I are currently enjoying parenthood with our daughter Rae who is learning, growing, and thriving each day. Her kind, confident, spunky, imaginative, and bold personality is a daily reminder of how important this Foundation is to our hearts, and how important it can be to the lives of others.

The Journey

of the Rae Strong Foundation

Check out the Rae Strong Foundation

Check out the full story of our partner and how they support families with babies in the NICU.

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