If the children's hospital never existed, local families would've logged over 30 million miles since it's opening date, traveling to other facilities in Miami or Tampa Bay.
That was the message Dr. Emad Salman, medical director of Hematology/Oncology at the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, delivered to actor G.W. Bailey during a tour of the hospital.
Bailey, who stars in TNT's Major Crimes, toured the pediatric oncology unit as the executive director of Sunshine Kids, a national organization providing fun and exciting activities for children with cancer.
Pictured above, G.W. Bailey speaks with Denise Markovits, special events planner with the hospital system, and Dr. Emad Salman. Mckenzie Cassidy.
"Sometimes you don't appreciate the impact of something so small like this program," said Salman. "Kids with cancer need to be seen almost everyday."
Before the facility opened, families had to travel to other parts of the state to get these specialized services, but now the children's hospital is filling that need. It receives approximately 50 new patients each year and is raising $100 million to construct a new pediatric tower near Bass Road.
Bailey toured the pediatric oncology unit seeing patient rooms, activity rooms for children and their families, and the state-of-the-art equipment used to help treat them.
"This is something else," said Bailey. "It's gorgeous."
Sunshine Kids scheduled a day at the Naples Zoo for four pediatric oncology patients on Saturday and on Nov. 17 Bailey and Major Crimes co-star Tony Denison will host An Evening on Broadway at The Colony Golf and Country Club in Bonita Springs to benefit Sunshine Kids.
Tickets include Broadway-style entertainment, martini bar, wine tasting, dinner, and dessert. Broadway performers Steve Barcus and Elizabeth Kensek are also featured with Bailey and Denison.
For information on the event or tickets, visit sunshinekids.org/broadway.