Buena Vista teacher gathers books for NICU

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BUENA VISTA, Va. (WDBJ7) At Kling Elementary, PE Teacher Lindsey Fitzgerald usually spends more time at the playground than the library. But around Christmas, her mind turns to books.

“We have had two or three-hundred books to donate to the Turn the Page program or the NICU at Roanoke Memorial,” she says.

Because she has made herself a one-woman charity.

“I’ll go home from school," Fitzgerald explains, "And there’ll be a package from Amazon, and friends from all over, sending books to support the book drive, my coworkers, my family, my friends, perfect strangers, who just hear about it from someone who is my friend – friends of a friend – who want to donate and make a difference, and it’s nice to have the support from someone who doesn’t know us and doesn’t know our son, but know our story.”

That would be the story of their son Wyatt, for whom the book drive is named, who was still born in 2013.

“After we lost our son, I knew that I wanted to try to give back, I wanted to do things to honor him in different ways," Fitzgerald says. "We always do things on his birthday, we do things for different holidays to try to remember him and to honor him.”

And so for the years after she lost Wyatt, Lindsey has brought books for parents in the neonatal intensive care unit to help them during their difficult time.

But really, she says, it does as much for her.

“What they’re really doing is they’re helping me heal," she says. "But they’re giving to other families and to other babies, and helping those families just uplift their spirits during the holidays and just give back to other people.”