Premies Who Overcame Much Get Scholarships.  By Don Sapatkin, Philadelphia Inquirer.  June 21, 2016

(Click to see on

To honor two people for their service to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health, neonatologists there are starting college scholarship funds in their names - and awarding the initial scholarships to the two babies who have most touched their hearts by overcoming adversity.

About 650 newborns a year spend an average of 14 days in the unit. The first two NICU Scholars were there a lot longer and had very difficult experiences, from cardiac issues to infections, said Gerard Cleary, neonatology chief.

Daniel Krupp weighed 21/2 pounds when he was born on July 6, 2014, at week 27. He went home to Mount Laurel a little over two months later; his father died six months after that.

Daniel will be the Ara S. Moomjian Scholar, honoring a physician who recently retired from Newborn Special Care Associates, the neonatology practice at Abington.

Cyamir Hooks weighed one pound when he was born on Oct. 19, 2014, at 22 weeks and six days into the pregnancy, a time when most babies don't survive. "He beat incredible odds just to be here," Cleary said, recalling how his young parents from Philadelphia would do their college homework by the isolette incubator during his 154 days in the NICU.

Cyamir will be the H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest Scholar, honoring the philanthropist and former owner of the Inquirer, the Daily News, and for his guidance on pediatric models of care, especially involving the NICU.

Cleary said the neonatology practice would contribute $5,000 to each scholarship fund. New contributions for additional babies will be added each year.

An awards ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday morning at Abington.