Delivering Thanksgiving dinners (from left): Challie Gangloff; Lana Boylan, Claire Sharkey; Martha Sharkey, Michele Walker, Marcia Quarles and Karen Pawlowi. (Photo courtesy of Today is a Good Day)

Thanks to Today is a Good Day and Top of the Hill Market & Cafe’, 184 E. Evergreen Ave. in Chestnut Hill, families with premature or sick babies at five area hospitals, including Abington Hospital, Einstein Health (Montgomery and Philadelphia locations), Crozer-Chester Medical Center, and Delaware County Memorial Hospital, had one less thing to worry about this Thanksgiving holiday – dinner.

Today is a Good Day Founders, Martha and Paul Sharkey, of Wyndmoor, remembered visiting their 23-week-old preemie twin daughters Claire and Mary after their birth on Nov. 14, 2010.

Their daughter, Mary only lived two weeks, but Claire survived after spending 103 days in the NICU. Martha said it was through their own “NICU journey” that they recognized families lacked the emotional and financial support they needed during this extremely difficult time.

“We spent Thanksgiving Day visiting our daughters in the NICU and did not want to think about preparing a Thanksgiving meal for just us and our parents,” Martha said.

The mother of two children said thanks to the generous support of Today is a Good Day donors and Top of the Hill Market & Cafe’ 61 Thanksgiving meals were given to families on Thanksgiving Day. The Thanksgiving meals included turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and gravy. All the meals were prepared and cooked by Challie Gangloff, owner of Top of the Hill Market & Café.

“When Martha told me, she was starting a nonprofit to provide support for parents ‘navigating the NICU’ I said, ‘I would do whatever it takes,’” said Gangloff, the father of two formerly premature children, Hailey, 10, and Hope, 7.

While his daughter Hailey was born a month early, she had no complications. However, his daughter Hope was almost born at 26 weeks, but thankfully made it to 30 weeks.

“That is how she got her name Hope,” he said. “We literally lived in the NICU for five-and-a-half-weeks.”

And thanks to Today is a Good Day and Challie Gangloff, owner of Top of the Hill Market & Café, other families with premature babies can find hope in the future and, as Martha says, “Take one day at a time.”

For more information about Today is a Good Day, go to todayisagoodday.org

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