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Golisano Partners with Walmart & Sam’s Club to Help Kids in SWFL

From Chris Simoneau, Lee Health’s Chief Foundation and Development Officer

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is a special place.

It’s the region’s only children’s hospital and annually serves more than 30,000 kids in Southwest Florida. Golisano Children’s Hospital provides specialized, life-saving care to so many children. For example, Golisano is one of only nine centers in the state to offer complete pediatric cancer care, and the oncology program is largely funded through donations and community support.

In Southwest Florida, we are extremely fortunate to have a community that comes together to support the young patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Without their generosity, much of what we provide may not be available.

For the second year, Golisano Children’s Hospital is fortunate to be a part of the nationally-renowned Children’s Miracle Network – a nationwide collaboration of the finest children’s hospitals – meaning that all gifts to Children’s Miracle Network now stay right here to care for our children of Southwest Florida.

Funds raised through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals campaigns directly help kids in our community, including 8-year-old Rylee Cappuccilli. The always-smiling third grader exemplifies strength and perseverance as she continues to face the challenges of a spinal cord injury she’s had since birth.

Rylee has received care at Golisano Children’s Hospital since she was a baby, and has made astounding progress. After her birth, she needed to learn to breathe on her own without 24-hour ventilator support, and in 2017, she overcame a surgery to remove a tracheotomy. Her mother said that was the happiest day of her life.

I’d also like you to meet 2-year-old Owen Hart, a toddler who loves his family, playing outside and all his special toys. When his mother noticed several bruises on her son that wouldn’t heal, she took him to the doctor and got the news no parent wants to hear. Her child had cancer.

Owen was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital. Thankfully, the pediatric oncology team had every resource available to treat Owen close to home. Owen continues to receive his cancer treatment at Golisano, a place he and his mom have come to call a second home.

These are just two of the amazing stories that come out of the children’s hospital every day. There are many more to be told.

In the coming weeks, the latest Children’s Miracle Network campaign will happen at our local Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. We ask you to consider supporting children like Rylee and Owen when you have a chance, much like you did during the Costco campaign in May and the Publix campaign in June. Every donation – no matter how large or small it may seem – help the Rylee’s and Owen’s and thousands of other children in our region.

If our COVID-19 experience taught us anything, it’s that we are an interconnected society that only flourishes when we work together to take care of the collective whole. If you are able, I encourage you to donate through this campaign or at www.SunshineAndMiracles.org. You are helping the children of our region more than you may realize.

Thank you for your support.