Couple raises money for parents with children in NICU

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FISHER, Ill. (WCIA) — A central Illinois couple who lost their son are trying to help other parents going through the same thing.

Cam Shields was only five days old when he died from a congenital heart defect. His parents say that was one of the worst times of their lives. They created Cam’s Cards as a way to help other parents feel less alone.

“It was just really sad. Like the saddest sad that I think a person can be,” said Sarah Shields as she thinks back to the time she was in the hospital with Cam. What should have been one of the happiest times in Sarah and Isaac Shields’ lives turned into one of the hardest. Their son, Cam, was born prematurely last February. Doctors quickly realized something was wrong.

“There was something going on; they weren’t sure why he was having irregular rhythms,” said Shields. “It was about 24 hours later, and they did an echo on him. That’s when they discovered the heart defect.” Cam died just five days later.

“I look back and I think, ‘How did I even survive?’ Like those five days that he was alive… and how did I survive this past year? And it’s… I don’t really know,” said Sarah.

Sarah Shields holds Cam’s hand while in the hospital

Surviving those tough days is something the couple says they want to help other parents do.

“Pregnancy and infant loss happens a lot more than people think and it’s a really hard time,” said Sarah.

Isaac is a biology teacher at Fisher High School. He says the support he received helped him through that time.

“The school and even students, they asked about me; they asked about Cam, they ask about Sarah, you know, it’s just very helpful and feels good to be at a job where people care,” said Isaac.

On top of that, the school is now planning a fundraising night to give back to Cam’s Cards, an effort the shields started in their son’s honor. Cam’s Cards collects money to help parents with children in the NICU pay for simple things, like gas and food.

“If we can just relieve that little bit of stress for another parent, we wanna do that. We wanna help people,” said Sarah.

The Shields say no amount is too small to donate. They want to remind people that the smallest donations can add up to big totals. They’ve already raised more than $5,000 since they created Cam’s Cards this past fall.

Fisher High School is donating money from their game Friday night to Cam’s Cards. Concession stand sales will be donated toward the effort. The junior varsity game starts at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity game starts at 7 p.m.

Fisher High School fundraiser flyer

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