Children’s Hospital dedicates NICU room in Emma Walker’s honor – Knoxville News Sentinel
Emma Walker wanted to be a NICU nurse, but her life was cut short. Monday a NICU room was dedicated on what would have been her 17th birthday.
There were cupcakes in the family room inside the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) Monday, but they went untouched.
On what would have been her 17th birthday, Emma Walker’s extended family gathered inside the NICU to unveil a room dedicated in her honor.
Walker, who was shot in her home in North Knox County in late November, wanted to study to become a neonatal nurse.
Emma’s mother, Jill Walker, said the unveiling was overwhelming.
“It means so much since Emma’s not getting the chance of fulfilling her dream as a NICU nurse,” she said after the unveiling. “It just means a lot to at least to be able to see her name here and to carry out her spirit here. It’s just a place to memorialize her memory.
“It’s nice because it makes today special,” she said. “It’s very sad because she’s not here, but she would love it and it’s exciting to do this on her birthday.”
On the other side of the glass, inside the room, was tiny Hunter, whose last name was withheld. As everyone gathered around the door to see the plaque, he gave a small cry.
NICU nurse manager Tracie Savage said the hospital feels honored to be able to do something for the family.
“This was the only room we had that had not been made in honor or memory dedication of anyone … so we just knew this was meant to be, for this to be Emma’s room because she aspired to be a NICU nurse,” Savage said.
William Riley Gaul was arrested Nov. 17 and charged with the first-degree murder of Walker, which authorities claim was carried out intentionally when Gaul fired two rounds through the side of Walker’s home.
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