Within the unique world of a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, premature and critically-ill newborns receive high-tech care that allows medical professionals to work miracles on these new, fragile lives. A Chance to Grow, directed by neonatal nurse Claire Panke follows three families as they navigate the unpredictable terrain of the NICU. Shifts in each baby’s condition provide dramatic twists that challenge family stability and redefine parental love.
The NICU environment has a profound effect on professionals as well as parents. Throughout the film, staff members reveal the challenges and rewards of working in the NICU, as well as complex ethical issues such as multiple births and the borders of survival outside the womb. As the stories in A Chance to Grow unfold, they reveal not only the impact of newborn intensive care on families, but the capacity of ordinary individuals to adapt to crises with extraordinary grace and courage.
Claire Marie Panke After graduating from Georgetown University, where she was nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship, Claire Marie Panke worked for several years as a writer and editor. She then earned a degree in nursing and specialized in neonatal intensive care, providing her with unique access to the compelling stories that unfold within the NICU. She was named the1999 Maternal Child Nurse of the Year by the Greater New York March of Dimes. Claire studied film at New York University, and has worked on various independent productions, as well as producing and directing several short films, and her current project, Light Years.