Kelly Gallagher, a 2007 MEd graduate, was named one of KYW Newsradio’s Rising Stars during the Women’s Achievement Awards on June 28 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
Gallagher, an elementary school teacher at Upper Moreland Primary School, was honored for her nonprofit initiative, The Superhero Project Inc., a Philadelphia-based charity that supports the needs of premature babies and their families. It’s an undertaking dear to her heart, as her twin sons were born at 32 weeks, spending a month in the NICU.
“When I found out I was nominated, I was in complete shock,” Gallagher said. “I am honored to know my principals and friend at work believe that my mission to help families with premature babies equally represents my ability to teach children. I have learned that we all have a calling and a passion in life and sometimes they can stem from two different places in your heart.”
Gallagher’s organization has helped install cameras in the isolate units of the NICU, allowing parents to check on their children virtually while juggling an already busy schedule. It has also provided easier access for doctors to do virtual rounds of the unit.
“I say this all the time—this technology would have changed my entire experience,” she said. “To leave my newborn twins in a hospital with strangers is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. From the minute I walked out of the hospital each night until the second I stepped back in the next morning, there was this intense feeling of pain, both in my heart and in my head. I knew there had to be a better way to connect families. This technology has absolutely given families the ability to connect like never before. I get weekly letters and emails from families, both currently in the NICU and some even after discharge, thanking my organization for giving them this chance of being able to virtually bond with their baby. While it is still overwhelmingly difficult to leave, their sweet face is now only a click away.”
Cameras were installed at Holy Redeemer Hospital in 2016. The Superhero Project has since installed cameras at St. Mary’s and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, with plans to add Doylestown Hospital to the list this coming fall.
“The response from hospital staff has been warm. With any new technology, there are always growing pains and reason to be apprehensive. Many of these staff members continuously come to my events and show their support. They continue to embrace The Superhero Project and put patients and their families first.”