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Rotary Happenings

May 22, 2014
Special to the Reporter ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

As part of Sanibel-Captiva Rotary's giving strategy, the club invites a variety of speakers to our meetings for a presentation on their own organization or non-profit and that we have also identified as a possible candidate for financial support from the club. This week, we invited Linda Kelly, senior director of development for the Lee Memorial Hospital Foundation, speaking on behalf of the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Currently, the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida facilities are housed within the confines of Lee Memorial's HealthPark Medical Center. They are building a new separate facility dedicated exclusively to the medical care and treatment of children that will expand the medical services available in our area providing quality care to our most medically vulnerable.

The new Golisano Children's Hospital (GCH) will provide 36 pediatric acute care beds, 12 pediatric hematology/oncology beds, 64 neonatal intensive care beds, 16 pediatric intensive care unit beds, 17 children's emergency department beds, a diagnostic and MRI suite with pediatric sedation, a free standing pediatric pharmacy, the Ronald McDonald House family room, an in-hospital classroom, indoor and outdoor play areas and much more. This is an incredible undertaking and the fundraising goal to build and equip the children's hospital was set at $200-250 million dollars. Stepping up and kicking-off fundraising efforts Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex, with a $100 million dollar match challenge and in 2010 The Campaign Goal for Children was established with a goal of reaching $100 million dollars in five years. As of last week, the accounting is $81 million dollars raised with $19 million dollars to go.

Article Photos

Linda Kelly from the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. PHOTO PROVIDED.

As Linda told us, "this is a crucial time in the campaign" and with that she played a DVD that provided us an understanding of what this children's hospital means to the families of children that need specialize medical attention. The heart-wrenching stories began with a family standing over their child in the neo-natal unit at the hospital or another family engaging with a bald-headed child undergoing cancer treatment. Keeping these children close to home is the goal of the new children's hospital, close to home where their parents can be by their side and still possibly go to work and take care of other children at home; a place that provides some relief for families from the stress of having a sick child. A place where a child that can receive the best medical treatment, a place that provides an environment where families can have resources to carry on with some semblance of family life and have respite from the necessary treatment sessions.

Right now, the children's hospital operates within the HealthPark Medical Center at maximum capacity of 98 pediatric and neonatal beds. Beyond their bed capacity and current medical specialties, children and their families must travel to Tampa or Miami for treatment. Keeping these children near home for medical care is a remarkable gift the hospital will be able to give to our community, but that gift comes with a price tag.

The Golisano Children's Hospital construction is underway and is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and the goal is to have all financial funding completed by this date. A financial contribution from the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary is now under consideration. The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., every Friday morning at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club. Guests are welcomed.



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