Don and Kelly Loyd's 8-year-old daughters Gracie and Annie are thriving today, but the family went through a very scary time when the girls were born dangerously early.

Grateful mom brings family perspective to hospital’s design

When Kelly Loyd learned she was having twins, it was exciting. When she learned they would be 11½ weeks early, it was terrifying, she recalls.

Instead of going home to their new nursery, her daughters ended up being whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit at the Medical University of South Carolina. Annie stayed 31 days, and Gracie, who needed surgery to close a duct leading to her heart and was on a ventilator for 57 days, stayed 77 days. 

“My daughters would not be here without the staff at MUSC and in the NICU,” Loyd says, celebrating today that her daughters, 8, are happy and healthy rising third-graders. “It became a very important thing for me to be able to give back to a place that helped my husband and me save our family.”

Loyd decided to stick her “toe into the water” and volunteer at MUSC. Little did she know where that path would take her. In the last four years, she estimates she has put in more than 600 volunteer hours, much of that dedicated to the planning for the $385 million Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion.

Kelly led a team of 26 people – all parents of Children’s Hospital patients – in the planning of the new hospital.  Working with a team of architects and caregivers, these volunteers shared their experiences in a way that shaped almost every aspect of the hospital, from floor plans and amenities to interior design and even the number of electrical outlets in each room.

It was an honor to be asked to share her input and help create a design and structure that will be comforting for families. “It’s the impact of participating in the hospital’s journey to truly realize how patient- and family-centered care will affect every single patient.”

Kelly’s husband, Don, cared for their daughters when her volunteer work pulled her away. Other families made sacrifices as well. She’s been amazed that this many people have been able to participate at a highly-engaged level. 

“They are a very brave group of people, a very committed group of people. They were very anxious to give back to a place that affected their lives. They gave the greatest gift of all – their time, their heart and their wisdom.”

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