KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Families of the tiniest patients in metro hospitals have many worries and much stress. Now some of it is being taken away by a unique charity called Little Warrior Princesses.
Savannah Shouse says no expectant mom expects to wind up in her shoes.
"Because you usually have babies, and they're fine and you get to take them home," Shouse said.
Instead, the mom from Nevada, Mo., has two babies in the neonatal intensive care unit of Saint Luke's Hospital. Her twins, Eleanor and Abigail, were born five weeks early. Their lungs are underdeveloped.
"Not being able to hold your babies right after delivery -- that can get kinda heartbreaking," she said.
Cassandra Dickerson understands. Four years ago, her twins, Ava and Olivia, were in the same NICU. One weighed just under one pound, the other just over. She didn't know if they'd make it.
"This floor represents a roller coaster ride for me," Dickerson said.
It's where she heard other parents talk about financial struggles.
"They were having to make a choice -- whether or not they could visit their baby simply because they didn't have gas," she said.
So last year, Dickerson started Little Warrior Princesses. It's named for her girls. The charity supports families of baby girls and boys in every hospital NICU in the metro, providing free $25 gas cards and food cards.
Shouse says she's staying at the Ronald McDonald House some nights, but the gas card will help as she and her husband travel from Nevada to the hospital. It's 185 miles round trip.
"That helps immensely with gas. Meeting her was a joy. We both share in twin girls, so we can relate," she said.
"We bring the gift cards and end up staying and talking for hours with the moms or dads," said Dickerson.
She empathizes and offers hope. Dickerson says her twins have limited health issues four years after they were fighting for life in the NICU.
Little Warrior Princesses has helped 150 families so far, and relies on donations to help more. It will hold its first Storybook Gala as a fundraiser on Friday, November 4th. Details here.