By Kim Paulsen
2/13/2022 – DeKalb, IL | NIU Hockey is proud to support DI Huskies’ head coach Nick Madonia and his family as they launch their brand-new not-for-profit organization, the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation.
Madonia and his wife, Alaina, created the foundation in remembrance of their son, Leo Joseph, who was stillborn at 27 weeks on January 22, 2022.
The Madonias were able to spend two days in the hospital with Leo, creating memories and spending precious time with their son that they otherwise would not have been able to have thanks to the help of a device called a CuddleCot.
A CuddleCot is a machine that seamlessly fits underneath the surface of a crib and aids in cooling a baby’s body, which helps preserve it for a few days so parents can bond and create memories with their child.
“When we were at the hospital, we were able to stay with Leo for two days because of the machine,” Madonia said. “After having so many people reach out to us and tell us about similar experiences and how they wish they would have had that gift of time, it really hit us that we were lucky when a lot of people haven’t been. We want to provide that same gift of time that we had with Leo to as many people as we can.”
As a result, the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation was born.
The Loving Leo Joseph Foundation is designed to raise funds to purchase CuddleCots so they can be donated to hospitals that don’t have them. Many hospitals don’t have access to CuddleCots as they’re expensive; they can cost $3,000 or more in some cases.
While being able to donate CuddleCots to hospitals is important to the Madonia family, bringing awareness to the unfathomable event of pregnancy loss is also a priority to them.
“The secondary reason for starting the foundation is just awareness,” Madonia said. “It’s so much more common than we knew about. We, again, were lucky that we had so many people reach out and share their story with us and that provided some comfort for us knowing we weren’t alone. We want people to know that this happens, and while we wouldn’t wish this on anyone, we want to be a resource for people.”
Additionally, the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation will collect handmade infant hats and blankets as well as hand-and-feet-mold kits to donate to hospitals for families to use in their time of need.
When it comes to support during times of need, there are few places better to find a stronger support system than the hockey community and the tight-knit NIU Hockey family is the perfect example of that.
“Nick Madonia has been a vital part of NIU Hockey for many years,” general manager JC Weems said. “NIU Hockey was heartbroken to hear the news about Leo. Our thoughts and prayers have been with the Madonias. We look forward to being able to help with the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation in any way possible.”
If you would like to make a donation to the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation, you can donate via PayPal or write a check made out to the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation, Inc. and send it to:
Loving Leo Joseph Foundation, Inc.
2700 S. River Rd, Ste. 115
Des Plaines, IL 60018
For more information about the Loving Leo Joseph Foundation, please visit https://lovingleojoseph.org/.