The Jantons: Giving the Gift of Time
At Northside Hospital, the bond between patients, their families, and the medical staff well exceeds their stay. And the Jantons are no exception.
When Janton’s first child, Maximus, was born in 2011, they spent four weeks at Northside Forsyth NICU. During their stay, Keri Janton and her husband became a family with the NICU staff.
“I met some of my best friends at Northside Forsyth,” expressed Keri Janton. “They’re still some of my closest friends today, and Northside Hospital is very important to my husband and me.”
In October of 2017, at six years old, Max had heart surgery to repair his mitral valve. Three days later, he passed away from a stroke. The following year, in 2018, the Jantons decided to host a golf tournament in honor of their late son, and wanted the proceeds from the tournament to benefit the special-needs community, including the extra special babies at Northside Forsyth NICU.
“My husband and I knew the money raised from this event would go towards a good cause,” said Mrs. Janton. “However, at first, we didn’t know where it would go. And after few considerations, we decided to create The Maximus Janton Foundation, and solidified the beneficiaries of our event.”
So far, the Jantons have held two annual golf tournaments, and the proceeds from these events have benefited the Miracle Babies families at Northside Forsyth NICU, and other special-needs families in the metro Atlanta area.
The donations from the 2018 golf tournament served 40 Miracle Babies families, and provided the NICU staff with the Super Tory baby simulator to advance their medical training. The 2019 proceeds are projected to serve 30 families.
“My husband and I hope to host the annual golf tournament for many years to come,” said Mrs. Janton. “We’re already picking the date for this year. And new in 2020, we’re planning an event that’s more family friendly called Max’s Moon Run.”
Max’s Moon Run will be on Friday, May 8, 2020 at 7 p.m. This event will be for all ages and abilities, and take place in downtown Suwanee. Attendees will even have the option to register as a virtual runner or a ghost runner—where they can make a donation and not run. For those interested in participating, please visit here.
“Max’s favorite book was “Good Night Moon.” He had a big moon night light, and he asked me to kiss the moon every evening before bed,” said Mrs. Janton.
“We’ve had people sharing with us that they wanted to get involved, but they don’t golf, so when I thought of the 5k, I thought “Max’s Moon Run” was the perfect fit; a night-time family run that everyone can participate in.”
One of Janton’s greatest hopes is that the contributions made through their foundation will lessen the financial burdens for the special-needs families, and allow them more time to focus on what’s most important: time together.
“Max was our first child, so we didn’t have to worry about other children or the back-and-forth driving during his first month in the NICU,” said Mrs. Janton. “That’s not the case for plenty of Miracle Babies families; there are so many personal financial and logistical issues that can arise during an unexpected NICU stay. We just hope that our gifts from Max’s foundation can give them relief—like a burden is being lifted, and a prayer is being answered. We give it with so much love in honor of our Max, our own NICU baby, who we love and miss more with each passing day.”
The Bagley Family Gives Back
In times like these, it is always encouraging to see the community supporting one another. Recently, Christi Bagley and her non-profit, Soul Blessed Ministry, through private donations and partnering with Barn Doors & More of Cumming, were able to award the Northside Hospital Miracle Babies Fund with an $8,200 check from their first year of fundraising. A few years ago, Christi’s granddaughter Lucy had complications after birth, which led her to spending four days in Northside Forsyth’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
For many families, an unexpected stint in the NICU can bring extra costs and time that come with caring for a preemie or special needs child, along with the stress of having a baby that is battling for their life. Families may have to take unplanned time off from work or find temporary housing closer to the hospital in order to give their full attention to their baby, and some families don’t have the ability to be at the hospital 24 hours per day.
This greatly affected Christi during Lucy’s stay. “Our family is very big and very close,” she explained, so her granddaughter was never alone in the NICU. Each night, they would walk the halls and see newborn babies without families surrounding them. “It pulled my heart strings,” she tearfully said, “It left me with a burden to give back to them.”
As with many families, the Bagley’s visit to the NICU was unexpected. “Going to the NICU was new to us,” she said, “we survived through prayer, hope and through the nurses there. As a parent, all you want to do is nurture your child, so when your child is sick, that is the most hopeless time you will ever have.”
Thankfully, Lucy’s health improved significantly during her time in the NICU and she was able to return home. Every year on Lucy’s birthday, she and her mom bake cookies and deliver them to nurses in the Northside Forsyth NICU. “We are more thankful for the hospital and the NICU than y’all could ever imagine,” Christi said.
Donations to the Miracle Babies Fund help eliminate some of the financial burdens that come with having a child in the NICU, so that the parents can focus fully on the health of their child. “If I had one message I could share with families experiencing this, it would be that you are never alone” Christi stated. The generosity of the Bagley family and Soul Blessed Ministry will be a helping hand to many families and their Miracle Babies!
Click here to learn more about Northside’s Miracle Babies Fund.
Click here to learn more about the Bagley family and Soul Blessed Ministry.