Police officers take an oath to serve and protect their communities. We usually think of those that serve to be the first on the scene for traffic accidents and crimes. However, a group of officers in Aurora, Colorado, have taken their commitment to community beyond the streets and into a neonatal intensive care unit.
About 20 officers from the Aurora police department have come together to help little Axel Winch, who was born premature when his mom was only 29 weeks pregnant. From the moment Axel was born, life has been a challenge for him and his parents, Adam and Melissa. “They let us know he had all sorts of issues genetically, physically to the point where the news was pretty devastating,” Adam told 9News. “He was in for probably a lifetime of issues medically. They’re still not sure what all of it is.”
Axel was transported to Children’s Hospital Colorado on Aug. 1, where he’s been treated with 24-hour care by top-notch medical teams. Baby Axel has endured many surgeries, and Adam told 9News that the baby has died in their arms “multiple times.”
“His nurses have saved his life. We have watched miracle after miracle,” Adam said.
The couple knew they would eventually have to return to work—Adam owns his own business and Melissa is a police officer—but the couple just couldn’t bear leaving their baby alone at the hospital. “Leaving is heartbreaking,” Melissa said. “The first time we left, I cried not all the way home, but the majority of the way home. It’s terrible.”
And this where where the police came in to save the day. “(I) came up with the idea that we would set up, basically, a watch, that we would have officers sign up for times to come in here and spend time with Axel,” said Aurora Police Sgt. Mike Pitrusu, who is in charge of the Aurora Police Department’s Employee Support and Wellness Unit. “Somebody called it cuddle watch. I don’t know where that came from. I think we probably would’ve come up with something tougher. We’ll go with cuddle watch.”
The Aurora Police Department and the Winch family released a couple of photos of these brave and compassionate men and women reporting for duty:
And there’s good news to report! Axel was released from the hospital in early November! His dad says “it’s been a ride,” but little Axel is progressing.
We wish the family all the best as Axel continues to grow!