Ripple effect of kindness

Categories: Donor Stories, NICU Stories

A Westport family was inspired to give back and help others.

Being socially conscious was a lesson that Simin and her late husband, Herbert Allison Jr., instilled in their sons, John and Andrew, since they were young.

“Our mother was always volunteering when we were growing up, supporting different causes and helping people,” said her eldest son, John. “Our parents taught us that life is for service, and that as members of a community, we have a duty to others.”

In 1998, the Allisons started a family foundation as a way to give back to organizations in which the family was interested. Each family member supports charities individually, but the causes chosen for the Allison Family Foundation are usually larger projects that require more resources and attention.

Enter Bridgeport Hospital.

Simin was at lunch with a friend who explained that her husband recently passed away at Bridgeport Hospital. While the treatment was great, recalled her friend, the hospice, or end-of-life suites, were in need of an update.

Simin and her friend met with Steve Jakab, president of the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation, and decided to fund a hospice suite remodeling.

While at her local gym, Simin realized the effects of her gift firsthand. Upon arrival, she was embraced by a young man who worked at the gym. He explained that his grandfather had passed away and his family gathered in the very same hospice suites that Simin and the Allison Family Foundation had worked to refurbish.  Ripple effect of kindness “It was such a moving story,” said Simin. “It was a small project but it was very special.”

Inspired, the Allison Family Foundation looked further into the needs of Bridgeport Hospital. Andrew, the younger Allison son, accompanied his mother on a hospital tour with Jakab. One area stuck out.

“When we saw how passionate our mother was about Bridgeport Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), we instantly knew that this was something we wanted to be involved with,” described Andrew.

“We were very impressed with the plan, the NICU nurses, Dr. [Robert] Herzlinger and the donors who came before us,” explained Simin. So in early 2016, the Allison family decided to contribute to the project.

The new Allison Family NICU cares for 500 infants a year. The new unit has larger, more private patient areas, lower lighting in treatment areas, a consultation room for family support and a central nurses’ station with comprehensive monitoring. The new unit opened in early 2018.

Simin knows that her late husband would be proud of the project. “You don’t have to have a cause in order to help,” said Simin. “Whatever you can do, big or small, can affect others.”