Payton's Presents: Helping families with babies in NICU

For the past decade, one Lake Mary family has been collecting books and blankets for babies in the NICU. 

They call it Payton's Presents, named after the now almost 12-year-old, Payton, who was in the NICU for nine weeks. 

Cherie Bailey was pregnant with Payton, her third child when she went into labor five weeks before her due date. She was born on Dec. 22, 2011.

It was a normal pregnancy but right after she was born, she was taken to the NICU with a lung deficiency.

"They told us moments later she was diagnosed with tachypnea, it's undetected during utero," Bailey said. 

Payton wasn't taking in enough air. 

 On Christmas Eve that year, she went into surgery and spent the next nine weeks in the NICU until she could breathe on her own. 

"I wanted to bring her home for Christmas to her brother and sister, and that didn’t happen, so we had a very different Christmas," Bailey said.    

When Bailey brought her other children to the hospital to meet their sister, they were greeted with love – Christmas treats and were given a blanket and a book. 

Bailey clung to her faith and a little blanket while Payton was in the hospital, hoping her little girl would come home. And when she did, Payton's Presents was born. 

Every year they collect blankets and books to gift to other families with babies in the NICU and have offered support to those struggling. 

Payton has a message for every baby fighting in ther NICU: "I want them to think that even if they were in the NICU for a long time, they are still here and they can still do things."

Payton and her mother are blown away by the support they've gotten over the years. 

They've donated over 3,000 gifts to families and serve eight hospitals – Winne Palmer and all seven AdventHealth hospitals. 

If you’d like to donate to Payton’s Presents, they are taking small baby books, ages 0-3, and baby receiving blankets. You have until December 10. Just email, to get involved.