In the middle of all of it sits Hillary Schefter and her harp. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Schefter has played with orchestras around the country. She comes to St. Joseph Hospital once a week because 25 years ago, her life began there.
"I wanted to give back because they've given me so much," Schefter said.
She was born premature at 26 weeks and weighted less than 2 pounds. In 1985, medical technology was not as advanced as it is today and the prospects for a child born that early were not good. Doctors gave her a 20 to 30 percent chance of survival.
"It was absolute total anxiety not knowing what was going to happen," Terry Schefter, Hillary's mother, said.
Hillary Schefter spent eight weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit before she was healthy enough to go home. Her mother remembers those weeks and the time spent listening to the sounds of the monitors.
"Every time you hear that beep, beep, beep, a baby needs something," Terry Schefter said.
Now when Hillary Schefter plays her harp for the parents, doctors and nurses at the neonatal intensive care unit, it gives everyone something that is needed.
"I guess it is just a calm in all this chaos," Ali Huckins, a mother whose daughter Halley was born 11 weeks premature, said. "It is a nice change from coming in and focusing on the monitors."
The sound that Hillary Schefter produces with her harp is not the only benefit parents get from her presence. Hearing her story gives them hope for their own child.
"It is great to hear her story and think how far she's come and look at my little one and think how far she can go too," Huckins said.
Seeing Hillary Schefter playing her harp also serves as a reminder to doctors and nurses of the successes that come from the unit. Laurie Bacheller was one of Hillary Schefter's nurses 25 years ago.
"I remember Hillary. I remember her mom," Bacheller said. "Hillary tells me everyday that I see her that miracles happen and she is living proof of that."
For more information about Hillary Schefter, you can visit her website at www.hillaryschefter.com.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)