Fort Worth, TX,
13:02 PM

Patients, Families and Care Teams Reunite at Cook Children's NICU Reunion

For the first time since 2019, the Cook Children’s NICU hosted its annual patient family reunion.

By Sydney Hanes

Patients admitted to the Cook Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can spend days, weeks or months there. No matter the amount of time spent there, the connections built between the tiniest patients, their families and their care teams last a lifetime. NICU Reunion 2

For the first time since 2019, the Cook Children’s NICU hosted its annual reunion on Sunday, April 30 to celebrate those connections.

The NICU reunion allows Cook Children’s former patients and their families to reunite with their care teams, including nurses, physicians, therapists, child life specialists and more. The care teams spend a significant amount of time with their NICU patients and their families while they’re admitted to the hospital and they always look forward to seeing how the former patients are doing after they are discharged from the medical center. NICU Reunion 18

The NICU reunion marks milestones and celebrates the achievements and successes of each of our patients.

Among the over 680 excited attendees was the Dorsey family, who spent 216 days in the Cook Children’s NICU with their son, Bryan.  

Bryan was born at 23 weeks weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces. During his stay in the NICU, he spent the first 100 days of his life on a ventilator, underwent several procedures and received 14 blood transfusions.

“He is a fighter!” said his mother, Natalie Dorsey. “Bryan was discharged from the NICU on one liter of oxygen and feedings via G-Button but was able to move past those supports rather quickly. He is a very healthy 4-year-old who attends school and plays T-ball.” NICU Reunion 22

Dorsey said she looked forward to reconnecting with friends at the 2023 NICU reunion.

“I looked forward to seeing familiar faces of people who made a huge impact in our life,” she said. “The last reunion we went to, Bryan was still on oxygen.”

Dorsey added, “Our NICU friends are still some of my most favorite people. My overall experience with Cook Children’s has been phenomenal. After living the NICU life, I decided to give back as a volunteer and now I’m an employee!"

As the parents as partners coordinator, Dorsey often has the opportunity to share stories from her family’s journey at Cook Children’s. 

“All my best stories come from our NICU days!” she said.

About Cook’s Children’s Health Care System 

Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization encompasses nine companies – a medical center, two surgery centers, a physician network, home health services and a health plan. It also includes Child Study Center at Cook Children's, Cook Children's Health Services Inc., and Cook Children's Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet their unique needs. We’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties for more than 100 years. Based on the exceptional care we provide, patients travel to Cook Children’s from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care built on leading technology, extraordinary collaboration and the art of caring. For more information, visit