Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital reaches $100 million fundraising milestone

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, or CMN Hospitals, at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital has reached a significant milestone in the organization’s history: $100 million raised since the program’s inception in 1985.

“For more than 30 years, CMN funds have helped to transform our children’s services. Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation, our pediatric patients continue to benefit from CMN-funded research, equipment and programmatic support,” said Ed Jimenez, UF Health Shands chief executive officer.

UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is one of 170 member hospitals in CMN. Funds raised through CMN support the most critical needs of children’s hospitals, including medical research, patient care and education. In fiscal year 2018, $9.8 million was raised for CMN through Dance Marathon events, local partners, corporate sponsors and community events.

Patients like Izabella Neira are living testaments to the impact CMN funds have on young lives. Bella wasn’t born at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, but it gave her a second chance at life. In 2013, she was one of the youngest patients in the U.S. to receive a heart-lung transplant. Now, Bella serves as a national CMN Hospitals ambassador and travels the country to share her message.

“Bella is one of many miracle children whose lives are forever changed thanks to the support of CMN,” said Scott Rivkees, M.D., UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital physician-in-chief and chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics. “Fundraising dollars mean she and other children have access to medical devices like heart and lung machines to support their heart surgery, that loved ones can rest on pull-out couches, and that we can pursue research that could alter the course of pediatric illnesses and disease.”

Since becoming a CMN Hospitals member hospital in 1985, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital patients and families and hundreds of faculty researchers in the College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics have benefited from CMN-specific funds.

CMN funding has contributed to milestones that include:

  • Surgeons performed Florida’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986. Now, due to philanthropic support provided by CMN, the congenital heart center has the nation’s top success rate for heart transplants.
  • In 1990, the Southeast’s first pediatric neuro-oncology center opened at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Two years later, the CMN telethon raised a record $1 million for pediatric programs. Without funding from CMN to support renovation of the neonatal intensive care unit or the purchase of much-needed supplies and equipment such as monitors, blood pressure cuffs and specialized “giraffe” beds that pair an incubator and warmer for premature babies, these milestones would not be possible.
  • UF Health Guest Services was initially funded by CMN in 1999 and now serves all UF Health hospitals.
  • Significant renovations to patient care areas took place over the past 18 years thanks to CMN funds. In the last decade, that has included $262,525 for the immune-compromised unit, $1.5 million toward the pediatric emergency room, $500,486 for the UF Health Children’s Surgical Center, and $2.7 million toward the pediatric infusion center, which opened in 2018. The infusion center funding is an example of a multi-year program for which part of a year’s funding may be saved for a future expenditure. Patients relying on immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatments benefit from this extensive renovation and expansion.

Every year, CMN also provides research funding for the College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics. More than $25 million has been given cumulatively.

Currently, there are about 50 CMN-funded pediatric research projects underway focused on newborns, children and young adults. These projects involve diabetes, gene therapy, neuromedicine, multiple sclerosis, oncology, pharmacogenetics, psychosocial issues, sickle cell disease, stem cell science and transplantation.

UF Health Shands Child Life program, which helps children and families cope with the stress and anxiety of hospitalization, is majority-funded by CMN. To date, CMN has donated more than $4 million to this program. Arts in Medicine also benefits from CMN funds, with more than $500,000 collectively donated toward its initiatives.

One of the nation’s best hospitals for children in six medical specialties, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital treated children from all 67 Florida counties, more than 40 states and 15 countries during fiscal year 2018.

Nearly 10,000 inpatients are treated every year across more than 20 medical specialties and subspecialties.

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