Leap For The Kids To Make Life Better for Our Community’s Hospitalized Children
AJ Donohue would be proud. His name is now connected with a fundraising campaign to renovate the Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick Campus pediatric inpatient unit. In partnership with the Health System Foundation, the AJ Donohue Foundation is launching the “Leap For The Kids” fundraising campaign and will match every dollar donated, up to $100,000.
If you give $25, the AJ Donohue Foundation will match your donation, bringing it up to $50. “We’re hoping the community will step up,” said John Donohue, AJ’s uncle and Foundation treasurer.
One of the first childhood cancer cases in Glynn County, AJ succumbed to the disease at age 18. During his short life, he inspired all who met him. “AJ was a charismatic young man who always thought of others. He grew up in and loved Glynn County, but over a two year period, he spent more than 200 nights at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. Unless you’ve experienced pediatric diseases, you don’t fully understand how the family suffers. The pediatric unit renovation is an ideal time for us to support high level care in our community. It was consistent with AJ’s vision,” Donohue said.
According to the Health System’s Foundation Development Director Krista Robitz, the pediatric inpatient unit needs a major renovation. “The 38-year-old facility isn’t inviting and it shares a floor with the adult oncology inpatient unit.” Robitz said the renovation will emulate the child- and family-friendly design of Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. “Children and their families won’t feel like they’re on a clinical floor,” she said.
Following the Wolfson Children’s Hospital design strengthens a partnership established in 2012. That year saw the opening of the Wolfson Children’s at Southeast Georgia Health System. Every week, specialists from Jacksonville treat Glynn County children with chronic medical conditions. Providing follow-up care in Brunswick alleviates some of the burden on local families who usually seek care in Jacksonville, as AJ’s family once did.
The pediatric inpatient unit redesign is part of the 20-20 Vision Campaign to expand and renovate the Brunswick campus. “The fundamental (construction) pieces were already in place, but we wanted to create a healing environment that minimizes the disruption of family life. From our family’s experience with AJ and other ill children, we know that the aesthetics of the (hospital) environment have a huge impact,” Donohue said. Robitz agreed. “We see it every day at the hospital. A soothing environment is essential to healing the mind and spirit.”
AJ understood this, having watched his parents spend many restless nights at his bedside, sleeping in upright chairs. He raised $50,000 to purchase recliners so families could rest comfortably at their child’s bedside. “He raised $50,000 by selling decals at $2 each,” Donohue recalled. AJ’s achievement illustrates an important point: every dollar makes a difference.
As John Donohue sees it, the Foundation’s challenge to the community supports a broader vision for the future of Glynn County. “If Jacksonville and Savannah can have this type of environment, why can’t Brunswick? This is a step toward our long-term goal of making more treatments for children available locally.”
Your dollars make a difference in the lives of local families. Please support them by donating at www.wearethefoundation.org or www.ajdonohuefoundation.org. You may also donate by calling 912-466-3360.
About Southeast Georgia Health System
Southeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit health system comprised of two acute care hospitals, two long term care facilities, three immediate care centers, five family medicine centers and numerous employed physician practices. The Health System has multiple outpatient specialty care centers, including the only CyberKnife® Program in the region and one of only four in Georgia, and a Cancer Care Center accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. For more information, call 855-ASK-SGHS (855-275-7447) or visit sghs.org. ###