Some people see problems in the world as challenges to be solved. Grace Hsia Haberl is one of those people.
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Grace was born prematurely and lived in an incubator for the first 11 days of her life. Years later, she was in college and needed to invent something for a material science engineering capstone project, so she decided to tackle neonatal hypothermia.
It is critical for all infants, but especially those born prematurely, to stay warm. Neonatal hypothermia kicks in whenever their body temperatures fall below 97.7 degrees Fahrenheit. While most hospitals in developed countries have incubators to keep premature infants warm, developing countries usually do not.
“I learned that around the globe, 140 babies die every day from hypothermia-related causes,” Grace told Fox News Digital.
When Grace realized that she herself may not have survived if she had been born in a different country, she knew she had to do something to help, so she invented a special incubator blanket called Warmilu.
Warmilu stands for “warm I love you,” and hospital workers say they make a huge difference for struggling infants. So far, more than 37,700 babies in 19 countries have benefitted from the Warmilu products!
Warmilu blankets are easy to use, and each contain an InstaWarmer heat pack that can be reused up to 100 times, so it’s a cost-effective solution both in and out of hospitals.
Getting Warmilu off the ground hasn’t been easy, but things started looking up in 2018 when Grace took a job as a package handler for UPS. When the shipping company learned of the non-profit she runs on the side, they helped Warmilu gain traction, both literally and figuratively.
“Not only were they able to help us break into these countries – we were in India, Kenya, and Uganda at the time – but they gave us our first business shipping account,” she said.
Grace has since become a UPS vehicle asset specialist, and she’s also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan. The company continues to support Warmilu, offering them a discount and deals on shipping resources, plus teaching Grace valuable and transferrable knowledge about inter-continental shipping. Some UPS employees have even gotten in on the action by tracing and cutting fabric patterns for the blankets.
Grace has now set her sights on helping babies in war-torn Ukraine, where Russian bombs have destroyed hospitals in many areas. She hopes her story encourages others to “step on up and find ways where, if you see a problem in the real world, don’t just let it sit.”
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