Two parents in the Rockaways had more than just the New Year to celebrate last week.
Molly Casiano and Vincent John welcomed their son Kenzo Ezekiel John, who was the first baby born at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital (SJEH) on New Year’s Day. At 12:14 a.m., the couple’s child came into the world at 4 pounds 13 ounces and 18 inches long.
Though Baby Kenzo was born with jaundice and shy of full-term, the hospital reported that he is thriving thanks to the use of a Giraffe Incubator Carestation and a GE Healthcare Bilisoft Phototherapy System. Last year, SJEH raised $20,000 to purchase a second Giraffe Incubator and is fundraising to buy additional Bilisoft systems, which help alleviate jaundice.
“As a first-time mom I knew nothing about jaundice and was nervous,” Casiano said. “The fact that [Enzo] is able to be in the incubator, use the Bilisoft and stay in my room with me at the same time makes me feel comfortable. He’s comfortable and it’s like he’s lying on a beach.”
Following Kenzo’s birth, SJEH gave the family celebratory tokens including a stroller, clothing, a baby care kit and a baby bouncer. The hospital also gave the family a baby monitor courtesy of Long Island-based company Jzanus, who committed to donating baby monitors to each baby born at the hospital in the month of January.
“The Bilisoft is what makes [Enzo’s] skin go from yellowish pigment to normal,” John said. “It’s perfect that the community contributed to fundraising for this equipment just for the little ones because, at the end of the day, babies are our legacy.”
According to city data, the Rockaways have a higher percentage of preterm births, with a rate of 11.3 percent compared to the city average of 8.7 percent. This has driven SJEH to fundraise for life-saving equipment for babies.
Anyone interested in contributing to the fundraising efforts can visit ehs.org/bilisoft.