Cuddlers wanted: St. Elizabeth program seeking volunteers to cuddle newborns in NICU

EDGEWOOD, Ky. – Baby coos and faint echoes of crying can be heard throughout the baby blue hallways at the St. Elizabeth neonatal intensive care unit and volunteers like Jessica Banish and her mom Brenda Palmer visit with these ailing newborns giving them the best medicine: cuddles.

The new Cuddler Program at St. Elizabeth’s Edgewood campus is hoping to wrangle a few more volunteers like the mother-daughter duo to staff the unit 24-7.

Cuddling is a vital element to babies treated there, Tracy Burch, registered nurse and nurse manager for the neonatal intensive care unit, said.

“They just entered this world from a comfy womb and are use to having a touch—it’s comforting to have a therapeutic touch when their arms and legs are flailing like they’re reaching out,” she said. 

“It comforts them to let them know they’re not alone.”

Volunteers do not have to live in Kentucky, but must be at least 17 years old. If you are interested in volunteering, visit

WCPO Insiders can read more about the program and what volunteers get from their work.

To continue reading: Subscribe Now or


or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.