AKRON, Ohio — Christine Sicker was inspired by Netflix star Marie Kondo to clean out her closet and drawers. But the "tidying up" journey led to an unforgettable reunion with an Akron nurse who took care of her premature baby 16 years ago.
Sicker spent time organizing her Houston, Texas home after embracing the "spark joy" concept made popular by Kondo on her Netflix series "Tidying up with Marie Kondo." When cleaning out your home, if the item doesn't "spark joy" in your life than it may be time to let it go.
While a 16-year-old business card in the bottom of a lingerie drawer may have ended up in the trash for some, Sicker felt the immediate joy and said she simply couldn't let go.
"That business card was not clutter, whatsoever," said Sicker in a phone interview with WKYC.
The card belonged to Connie Teal with Akron Children’s Hospital, one of the nurses that had cared for Sicker's son Will after he was born at just 24 weeks on June 1, 2002.
Weighing in at under two pounds, Will spent 3 months at the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) gaining strength each day.
Today, Will, 16, is a 6-foot-tall high school sophomore who spends a lot of his time on the basketball court. His mom wanted to share his success story with the nurses that helped him grow in his early years. Sicker took a chance and wrote an email to nurse Teal in hopes of a possible reunion.
Despite an email change, the story made its way to Teal and they scheduled a reunion via video chat on Facebook messenger.
"I cannot believe we’re having this conversation," said Sicker soon after answering Teal's call on Monday afternoon.
It was a moment to say 'thank you,' years later and thousands of miles away.
"It was all to express that, ‘yes’ we felt so much joy when we left the NICU with Will, but that joy and gratefulness has never gone away," said Sicker.
For Teal, the call was more than just expressing gratitude, but a chance to reconnect and follow the journey of a patient.
"It’s just very good to know that the care that we provide is helping," said Teal.
Sicker has no plans to let go of the business card. She says it's a reminder of what can bring people joy in life.
"I think it’s more than just tidying up your house. Right? That’s in my opinion," said Sicker. "It’s not just finding gratefulness in your processions but also in your friendships."
Sicker hopes to visit Akron Children's Hospital to thank Teal and the other staff members in person.