Before He Gave A Generous Gift, This 81-Year-Old ‘Baby Cuddler’ Gave His Time

"It's an honor for us to share our blessings."

Louis Mapp is an 81-year-old who volunteers in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the USA Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. He started volunteering in 2017, and is sometimes referred to as "the baby cuddler" and "the baby rocker" because he helps out by rocking, feeding, and snuggling up to the premature babies in the ward.

His story is already pretty incredible, considering the great-grandpa drives 45 minutes every Tuesday to show some tender-loving care to the preemies.

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But it just got better when it was revealed that Mapp and his wife Melinda donated more than $1 million to the hospital's NICU ward.

According to a press release from the University of South Alabama, the couple donated $1,055,000 to the Hollis J. Wiseman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Mapp explained the details about the donation: "We wanted (the endowment) to be large enough that it would produce enough income so the caregivers, when they recognize a need during the year that might not be in the budget, they would have funds available."

He continued, “These babies are so precious; it’s hard to put into words ... We decided we wanted to do something that, after we’re gone, would carry on, and that’s why we established the endowment for the NICU.”

The funds will help NICU staff "identify and offset unforeseen needs." It's important because the Hollis J. Wiseman NICU is the area's only Level III unit and it admits 900 babies annually, with 20 percent coming from referring hospitals in the area.

"For him to come with his time alone is fabulous, but then the donation," exclaimed Nurse Manager Renee Rogers to WKRG. "It was massively surprising." 

The altruistic couple has previously donated funds for a NICU garden. In 2012, they helped establish the Mapp Child and Family Life Program at USA Children's & Women's Hospital, which helps youth who are hospitalized meet their educational needs.

"It's an honor for us to share our blessings, and we can't think of a better place to do it than here at the NICU unit of Children's & Women's Hospital," Louis Mapp said of the recent donation.

The Mapps' time and monetary donations will help those in need at the hospital, but the entire experience has also impacted them. "I'm 81 years old," Mapp explained to People, "And one of the neatest things I've ever done is being around those precious babies, and the nurses that take care of them."

(H/T: Upworthy)

Cover Image: Photobac / Shutterstock.com

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