'You are our hero:' Former patients thank NICU nurse for helping save lives

Renee Hendrix has helped save many infant lives over the years. Now, dozens of the NICU nurse's patients came together to show thanks for the woman who helped them. (Kleenex/YouTube)

NICU nurse Renee Hendrix has helped many ill and prematurely born infants over the years. In a touching commercial, former patients have come together to show their thanks to the woman who cared for them in more ways than one.

More than a dozen children and their parents showed up at WellStar Kennestone Hospital to give thanks to Hendrix, who helped them during their time in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Hendrix, who has been working as a NICU nurse at the hospital since 1982, was contacted by Kleenex to take part in a commercial celebrating National Neonatal Nurses Day. What Hendrix didn't know is that she wasn't just a part of the commercial, she was its star.

"If I treat the babies like I would want somebody to treat my baby when I'm not there, that's the most important thing," she said in the video.

She continued by explaining how much it means to keep in touch with the families after the babies are no longer her patients. Then came the surprise: Hendrix was shown a video of those very families expressing how much they appreciated her, thanking Hendrix for her care and support throughout their difficult time.

"There are not enough words to thank you for what you've done," said one mom.

Another mom had even stronger words for the nurse: "You are our hero."

Hendrix wiped away tears as she watched the video, but the joyful celebration wasn't over. Many of the families came to the hospital to thank her in person. Hendrix appeared shocked but touched to see her former patients greeting her, holding pictures of themselves during their time in the NICU.

"I was speechless, which is unusual for me," Hendrix told ABC affiliate WSB-TV. "I felt like my heart was just going to bust open. It was just so overwhelming."
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