SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Celebrating ten years old inside Kaiser Permanente was the perfect birthday party for Madi Meeker.
"Without them, I would be dead. I also want to be a pediatric nurse and it's my 10th birthday," she explained.
She spent a few weeks in the NICU after being born prematurely.
The party was a full circle moment, especially because she wants to be a pediatric nurse when she grows up.
"I want to deal with the babies and stuff because that just seems pretty cool," she said.
Wiping tears, her parents, said thank you to the nurses for caring for Madi when they left the hospital with an empty car seat.
They said bringing them lunch is the least they could do to give back.
"They helped us through in that process. They're like trusting hands," said Suzanna Meeker as her husband consoled her.
"They help so many people and they don't even realize it," added Mike Meeker.
Charge Nurse Elisa Imonti said the celebration reminds her that what she does make a difference.
"Seeing people come back, like Madi who is 10 years old - it's kind of nice to see. It's not often that you have people that come back that many years later," said Imonti.
On a day like Labor Day, Imonti said she feels appreciated.
"I don't even think about holidays anymore. As a nurse, you just realize that somebody has to be there to take care of the patient. So, Labor Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, we're usually there," she said.
To top off Madi's birthday celebration, she left with a tool to help kick-start her nursing career.
The nurses gifted her a stethoscope.
"I didn't know that was going to happen at all," said Meeker.