Kentuckians asked to wear bowties for babies

Published 11:32 am Monday, October 28, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Organization brings awareness to drug exposed newborns

By Brittany Fuller

Email newsletter signup


This Friday, Kentucky residents are joining together for the inaugural Bowties for Babies day, a fun and goofy way to bring awareness to a serious cause – drug exposed newborns.

“Every 15 minutes in the United States, a child is born drug exposed,” Ann Marie Nipp, founder of Phoenix Grace said. “They are the tiniest victims of the opioid epidemic we have going on in America.”

As a foster parent, Nipp said drug exposed children have always weighted heavy on her heart. Her daughter, who was adopted through the state’s foster care system, was born dependent on cocaine and suboxone. Nipp said it was heartbreaking to watch her suffer withdrawal symptoms at just three days old.

“Born with drug withdrawal is something no baby should have to endure and is 100 percent preventable,” Nipp said.

Nipp’s daughter, suffered from symptoms including tremors, sweating, high pitch screaming, hyperactive reflexes, poor feeding and was considered a failure to thrive.

“Just like any other parent of a child battling something abnormal, my husband and I researched Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (substance withdrawal) and spoke with any researcher or physician that would give us the time,” Nipp said. “We learned that therapeutic treatments could drastically assist in the healing process along with the pharmacological side. With 24-hour skin to skin contact and additional therapeutic treatments, she (Nipp’s daughter) was released from the hospital seven weeks earlier than expected. Today, she’s a thriving two-and-a-half-year-old.”

Bowties for Babies, as well as The Bowties for Babies Gala in Lexington later next month, are both ways Nipp is bringing awareness and raising funds for the treatment of drug exposed newborns through Phoenix Grace.

“The National rate (for drug exposed newborns) is 15 per 1,000 births, but in Kentucky overall, that number jumps to 23.3 and Eastern Kentucky shows as high as 69 per 1,000 births have drug withdrawals,” Nipp said. “Phoenix Grace will be a residential pediatric recovery facility that will provide inpatient medical care for drug-exposed newborns and non-judgmental support, family advocacy, and foster care and adoption services serving Kentucky’s families.”

Want to get involved? It’s simple. To show your support this Friday visit for more information and wear a funky bowtie to bring awareness. Make sure and also hashtag #bowtiesforbabies on social media.

For The Bowties for Babies Gala, held Saturday Nov. 16th at the Grand Ballroom of the Signature Club at Lansdowne in Lexington at 7 p.m., tickets are available through Phoenix Grace’s website.

“It is a formal gala with live music and a silent auction to bring both awareness and raise funds for Phoenix Grace,” Nipp said.

In closing, Nipp said if she could tell a pregnant mother who uses one thing it would be, “You are loved. We love you, God loves you, and you and your newborn are worth it.”


For more information visit or

or call 859-553-6887