'Wheels for Willie' helping family adopt NICU child

Posted at 11:43 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 23:57:21-04

It wasn't your average pizza night at Pizza Johns, because Lauren Hayden and husband Brad are not your average people. They rented out an entire room at the restaurant to support their foster child.

"No child should be left in a hospital bed or in a home that cant care for them," says Lauren.

The couple's first child was born premature and spent several weeks in the Sinai NICU. Lauren says some babies there never got a visitor and never found a home.

"Sometimes the families just can't take care of them," she says, "Maybe they don't know what the life expectancy may be, or that they're going to be bed bound or unconscious for the rest of their lives."

Since then, the couple has fostered three NICU children and are looking to adopt their second, William. The 2-year-old had a challenging birth, lost oxygen and is now wheelchair bound, according to Lauren. Doctors said William would never speak and never eat, but his foster parents say he's already proving that wrong.

"He loves family, he loves being around, he's just a loving, happy child," says Brad.

"The first song that he had a response to was that Disney song from 'Moana,'" said Lauren, "He sings it really loud and he screams it and it's so adorable."

The Hayden's want to adopt William but, to do so, they need to make a big upgrade.

"Part of the adoption program is that we continue to have safe and adequate transportation for him and, unfortunately, our current vehicle situation doesn't do that."

Despite having an already really large Nissan van, it isn't quite big enough for a wheelchair lift. So, they're asking for help. 

Wednesday night, 15 percent of fundraiser checks at Pizza Johns went towards "Wheels For Willie," the families fundraiser for a new vehicle.

The Hayden's are also raising money on this Facebook page.