Kern Wildenthal

President, Children's Medical Center Foundation

Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center raises record-setting $797,0002 June 2015
Kern Wildenthal

Recently the Dallas and Legacy chapters of the Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center hosted their Spring Celebration Brunch, where their presidents Ruthie Lightbourne (Dallas) and Jean Callison (Legacy) presented checks to Children’s Medical Center Foundation totaling a record-setting $797,000, which represents the sum of both group’s fundraising activities during 2014.

For the first time, the Dallas Chapter, pledged to create an endowment at Children’s Medical Center Foundation. The group’s $320,000 gift for Patient and Family Support Services is the first payment on a five-year commitment of $1.5 million. This thoughtful and lasting gift will ensure continued funding for the art and music therapy programs, camps, Child Life, family resource libraries, the Funnyatrics clown program, language access services, pastoral care and Godly Play, pet therapy, school and social work services, volunteer services, and the Red Balloon Network.

Funding these important initiatives is essential to their continuation because these programs are not supported by patient fees or reimbursements. It is these “extra” activities that define the experience of our young patients. To be comforted by a therapy dog, to express themselves through art or music, or to laugh with a clown is good “medicine” for the children we treat.

Also for the first time, a portion of the Auxiliary’s gifts were designated for the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern. The CRI was initiated in 2006 by Children’s Medical Center President and CEO Chris Durovich and myself while I was President of UT Southwestern. It was officially launched in 2012 to address fundamental scientific questions that offer the opportunity to better understand the biological basis of disease. Scientists and physicians in the CRI are pursuing research at the interface of regenerative medicine, cancer biology and metabolism – fields that hold uncommon potential for discoveries that can lead to groundbreaking advances in science and medicine.

The Dallas Chapter also provided funding for the PetSmart Paws for Hope Pet-Assisted Therapy program to bring another full-time staff dog to join the two supported by PetSmart’s grant this year. TeleNICU services, which allows two-way, real-time communication with neonatologists at Children’s; the Women’s Auxiliary Scholarship Fund; language access services; and Camp Moss for children who have had or will need heart surgery or transplants all received support from the Women’s Auxiliary’s fundraising events, such as Family Night at Six Flags and Breakfast With Santa.

The Legacy Chapter’s fundraising in 2014 – in particular the signature Legacy of Love Benefit & Fashion Show – will enable the purchase of ophthalmology equipment for patients at Children’s Medical Center Plano and support music therapy; the Bear Hugs program, which furnishes 4,000 stuffed bears annually to Children’s Plano surgery patients; the Center for Pediatric Eating Disorders; Patient and Family Support Services; and the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

On behalf of Children’s, I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the more than 800 women who work tirelessly and passionately to make life better for children throughout North Texas. Your efforts do not go unrecognized. Every child, every day in our hospitals and clinics is touched by your kindness.

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