Paisley’s Story

Paisley Mae Dobrowolski was born May 26, 2013, at just 28 weeks and 2 days gestation. She weighed in at 2 pounds 8 ounces and was 14.5 inches long. She spent 47 days in the NICU growing bigger and stronger before she was able to join her family at home! While in the NICU, it dawned on her mother how simple things, like seeing her wrapped in cute baby blankets, really made it feel less like a hospital and more like her nursery. Paisley’s amazing nurses always made a point to pick out the cutest combination of blankets that they could find to cover her “bed” and to swaddle her with. Eventually, her mom Mandy, got to raid the blanket closet to pick out Paisley’s linens. This is when she noticed they could use more fun, bright, and gender specific blankets. The idea for Running for Covers was born; to combine Mandy’s love of running with a way to thank their nurses and give back to the NICU.

In 2015, the NICU dedicated their linen closet to Miss Paisley Mae. “Paisley’s Closet” along with her story and information about Running for Covers posted in beautiful frames are located in their parent room. The blankets donated by Running for Covers fill the shelves of the linen closet, line the beds in the NICU, cover babies during Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin contact with parents), and are given to families to take home. 2015 was a big year for Running for Covers as it became officially recognized as a non profit organization!

In 2019, along with our standard blankets and supplies, we were able to donate $4,000 to the Saint Mary’s Foundation to help the NICU purchase two hospital-grade specialized power reclining chairs for parents of babies on oscillator ventilators and bed side milk warmers.

In 2020 Running for Covers is being held on August 16th (Paisley’s original due date!) at the Grandville Middle School Track! The “cost” of participating is a donation of a new, handmade, or gently used baby blanket. Last year we collected over 300 blankets!

2020’s goal is to see an increase in participants and donated items so we are able to help more NICU families.

This year we will also be accepting the following items which will be used to make goodie bags for those families:

knitted baby hats,

solid fleece and flannel squares (cut in 1 yard pieces),

notebooks (at least 5×7 size for journaling),


unscented hand lotion,

unscented hand sanitizer,

small bottles of dish soap,

small packages of tissues,

children’s books (in English or Spanish),

Wub-a-Nub (pacifier animals)

Dr. Brown’s Bottles with preemie size nipples (these can be purchased at the medical supply store right in Mercy Health Hospital for just $4),

Extra Cash Donations will be put towards an item the NICU is in need of. They are currently raising money to put towards the purchase of a hospital grade loaner breast pump. NICU mom’s can borrow this pump for two weeks until they have established a good milk supply and can switch to a regular home pump. The cost of the pump is $1200. They are also in need of 6 more milk warmers to be able to have one at each baby’s bedside. Hospital grade milk warmers cost $800 apiece.

Running for Covers will also be supporting the annual NICU Reunion that also takes place in August. Our purpose is to help celebrate NICU Grads and reunite them and their families with the staff at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in a fun and interactive atmosphere!

Thank you for your continuing support!

Running for Covers

Running for Covers is a 2.8 mile fun run/walk for which the “cost” of participating is a donation of a new, handmade, or gently used baby blanket. The 8th annual Running for Covers Event will take place at the Grandville Middle School Track, on Sunday August 16, 2020. In its inaugural year, 50 people participated to collect approximately 200 blankets. Last year, more than 300 people gathered to donate over 400 blankets, hundreds of other needed items, and $4,000 to the NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Perhaps our biggest news in 2015, was that Running for Covers became a tax-exempt nonprofit organization under category 501(c)(3). Due to the abundance of blankets donated by Running for Covers, the NICU dedicated their linen closet to Miss Paisley Mae, the preemie behind the event. “Paisley’s Closet” along with her story and information about Running for Covers are posted in their parent room.