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Evan Bard's Legacy Helps Brings Families Closer

On May 11, 2013, third-year nursing student Evan Bard aced her final exams.

Six hours later, a car accident claimed her life. 

But her dream lives on at Baystate Health.  

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Twenty-year-old Evan Bard was a popular cheerleader at Agawam High School and later at Curry College, where she was a straight-A, Dean’s List student. At the time of her death, she was planning to devote her career to taking care of the tiniest, most fragile babies as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse.

The Bard family is sustaining Evan’s shimmering life force through the EvvGirl Foundation – and, through the Foundation, her dream has found its way to the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Children’s Hospital.

A Heart For Little Ones

“We set up the EvvGirl Foundation within two weeks of Evan’s passing, with the help of family and friends who very generously made memorial gifts and have continued to support the Foundation,” says her father, Todd Bard, noting that more than 1,500 people attended Evan’s wake.

“Evan’s sister, Leisl, is president of the Foundation, and her brother, Elijah, will succeed me as treasurer when he finishes college,” Todd adds. “It will help them stay connected to their sister, while making a difference in the world in her name.”

The EvvGirl Foundation is already making a big difference for the families of babies in the Davis NICU.

In July 2015, with support from EvvGirl, Baystate Children’s Hospital began installing ten Angel Eye cameras in its Davis NICU. Using a unique password, parents log onto a secure website that takes them directly to the camera affixed to their baby’s bassinette – unlocking a real-time visual feed that can be viewed on any device that can access the internet.

“This was a fairly complex undertaking, with clinical and IT teams coming together to facilitate installation of the technology, safeguard confidentiality and address other challenges,” Todd explains, “Baystate has been an amazing partner in making it happen.”

“Evan always had a heart for little ones,” remembers her mother, Barbara. “Through this project, we’re able to help fulfill her dream of taking care of them. We’re especially pleased to help bring this technology to Baystate Children’s Hospital, where Evan was born.”

Inspiring generosity

Nearly one-third of the bassinettes in the Davis NICU at Baystate Children’s Hospital now have Angel Eyes, thanks to the EvvGirl Foundation and community donors, as well as, New York Life Insurance Company, which made a $25,000 gift to purchase an additional 10 cameras. But the goal is for every bed to be equipped.

“Our company is dedicated to keeping people safe at every stage of life, and we are so happy to be able to help the families of infants in the Davis NICU feel more connected and secure,” says Jean Deliso, an Agawam-based New York Life Insurance Company registered agent and newly-appointed chair of Baystate Health Foundation. “We are very proud to partner with Baystate Health – and deeply honored to build on the inspirational generosity of the Bard family.”

“We are all connected through our acts of compassion,” says Jane Albert, Vice President of Philanthropy at Baystate Health and Executive Director of Baystate Health Foundation. “Just as it takes a team to nurture our NICU babies, it takes a community to deliver a higher state of caring. The EvvGirl Foundation’s impact comes not only from its gift, but also from its power to inspire others to give. We are so grateful to the Bard family for channeling their unimaginable loss into this incredible gift. I cannot think of a more meaningful way to honor Evan’s memory.”

We invite you to join our efforts to keep Angel Eyes on every baby in the Davis NICU at Baystate Children’s Hospital by helping to purchase the additional cameras needed. Each camera, including hardware, software, and service, costs $2,500.

Your gift of $2,500 will be honored with an on-screen message every time a family logs onto the Angel Eyes account linked to your camera. Gifts of $2,500 in support of the Angel Eyes program will receive Bronze level benefits in our President’s Society; gifts of $10,000 or more will also be recognized on the Baystate Health Foundation President’s Society donor wall in the main lobby of Baystate Medical Center.

If you would like to help keep Angel Eyes on every baby in the Davis NICU at Baystate Children’s Hospital, please contact: Kathy Tobin at (413) 794-5996 or via email.