Guest Commentary: Giving Tuesday offers opportunity to enhance pediatric health care, change children’s lives in Southwest Florida
Imagine having a critically injured or sick child in need of immediate medical attention, but the nearest pediatric hospital is a two-hour drive from home.
Just a few short years ago, that was the situation faced by many Southwest Florida families who traveled to Tampa or Miami for specialized pediatric care.
Thanks to this community’s generosity, the state-of-the-art Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida opened in May 2017 and allowed local children to undergo lifesaving care in close proximity to their homes.
Within a matter of months, Golisano Children’s Hospital was named a “Top Children’s Hospital” by the Leapfrog Group, one of only 10 nationally to earn this prestigious distinction. This July, Golisano Children’s Hospital was named the “Most Beautiful Hospital” in the U.S. by Soliant.
Golisano Children’s Hospital was built by this community, for this community, but just because we have a spectacular new building doesn’t mean private support is no longer needed. Inside the hospital are world-class medical professionals, cutting-edge technologies and innovative, life-changing programs like dialysis and a burn treatment service that wouldn’t be possible without philanthropic support. With your generosity, Golisano Children’s Hospital is able to deliver exceptional health care and expanded services that the children of this community deserve.
On Tuesday, Nov. 27, the Lee Health Foundation is participating in Giving Tuesday, a nationwide movement to support nonprofit organizations that rely on philanthropy to carry out their missions.
Giving Tuesday donations will be directed toward the Little Red Wagon Fund, which helps finance our outstanding pediatric programs and services. For example, the fund recently covered costs for the installation of automated external defibrillators in Lee County schools, devices that truly can save lives when time is of the essence.
Nearly 70 percent of pediatric patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital are uninsured or on Medicaid, so the fund assures those children have access to the same level of medical care as others. The Little Red Wagon Fund also helps Golisano Children’s Hospital recruit and retain top talent, ensuring that local children are being treated by the best and brightest health professionals in the medical field.
There are many charitable organizations in Southwest Florida that are doing great things for this community. Your donation to Golisano Children’s Hospital will ultimately save the lives of children by providing new pediatric services and medical treatments that otherwise aren’t available in this region.
We’ve made donating very simple this year. Just visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/LittleRedWagon to learn more about our initiatives, and click on the “Donate” button. Your recurring donation of $25 per month will be used to benefit our community’s youngest, most vulnerable patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers, as well as pediatric specialty clinics in Naples and Port Charlotte.
In October, Golisano Children’s Hospital received a game-changing $5 million donation from Baycross Christian Family Foundation to benefit the Little Red Wagon Fund, a tremendous show of trust for what we’re trying to accomplish here. While announcing the gift, the Foundation issued a community fundraising challenge in hopes of turning that initial donation into $10 million.
Imagine how many families we can reach, and how many children we can treat, by infusing $10 million into the Little Red Wagon Fund. It would clearly demonstrate that children are the priority in Southwest Florida while transforming pediatric health care in the region.
For more information about Giving Tuesday, please call 239-214-0898 or follow Lee Health Foundation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
– Armando Llechu is chief administrative officer for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, the only full-service children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami.