Amazing Recovery for Boy Born Prematurely


Dana and her son Willy Trawczynski

When Willy Trawczynski was born prematurely at 26 weeks, he weighed one pound and 13 ounces. He had respiratory complications and was on a ventilator for more than six weeks.  Tragically, his twin sister, Olivia, passed away shortly after birth.

Dana and her husband, Michael Trawczynski, spent the next six months at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) Evanston Hospitals’s Infant Special Care Unit (ISCU). At least one of them would be by Willy’s side every day. When they weren’t there, the nurses would play a tape recording of their voices, reading a book to Willy.

“It was a long time and it was day to day,” said Trawczynski. “It became our new normal.”  They hired a full-time nanny to take of their son Alex, who was 3 at the time. When Willy was finally discharged, he still had respiratory troubles and was on oxygen for six months at home. For the next three years, he would have physical, occupational and development therapy.
Today, at age 6, Willy, who starts Kindergarten in the fall, likes Legos, Tae Kwon Do and jumping off the pier to swim at a nearby lake. “He was born with a twinkle in his eye and nothing holds him back,” said Trawczynski. She credits Willy’s “amazing recovery and development to the excellent care he received at NorthShore.”

Dana and Michael have since become active members of the Associate Board of NorthShore, a volunteer group of young professionals who raise funds on behalf of the ISCU and the Department of Pediatrics at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. Since 2003, members have raised more than $500,000 to benefit neo-natal projects for the ISCU and Department of Pediatrics.  The Trawczynskis’ offer a yearly donation to NorthShore and do as much volunteer work as they can to say “thanks.”

Dana Trawczynski was so taken with the care given by physicians and nurses at NorthShore, she decided to change careers. She went back to school and will graduate in December with a degree in nursing. “I was inspired by their work. The nurses in the ISCU became like our family.”

For more information, contact the Associate Board at 224.364.7275 or

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