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‘Breakfast with the Blades’ aids area neonatal intensive care unit

By Staff | Dec 31, 2008

Lee County residents can have breakfast with members of the Florida Everblades hockey team this weekend when the Lee Memorial Health System hosts “Breakfast with the Blades.”

The early morning event allows hockey fans to sit down with the team for autographs and raise money for the Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit through a silent and live auction.

The breakfast will be held on Sunday, Jan. 4 from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Cypress Club at the Germain Arena.

According to Jeannie Cummings, director of development for the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, all proceeds will be matched dollar for dollar by a local philanthropist and will benefit an expansion of the local NICU.

“We need eight more beds because we are almost always full and to reduce the number of diversions to Tampa and Miami,” said Cummings. “We want to keep children and premature babies close to home for their care.”

The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida has the only NICU in the seven counties forming Southwest Florida. Last year, it served 650 babies born prematurely or with significant ailments.

The auction will feature autographed items from NHL superstars Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky as well as a signed copy of Alex Rodriguez’s children’s book, “Out of the Ballpark.”

Fans also will have the chance to bid on spending an afternoon with their favorite member of the Florida Everblades.

“Some auction items are fun because one is the opportunity to have dinner with the coach and captain, or win an opportunity to golf with an Everblades player,” said Cummings.

The signature auction item Sunday will be a three-night trip to Las Vegas, where guests will stay at the Bellagio and receive tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s new show “Love.” The package includes dinner at Las Vegas’ Il Mulino and Nobu restaurants.

“A lot of people have been looking at this as a nice holiday gift to give back to the community,” added Cummings.

David Moulton, from Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon on ESPN Sports Radio 770, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event.

Breakfast with the Blades is part of the Boston Red Sox Children’s Hospital Celebrity Event Series. Tickets are $100 for adults and $50 for children who are 12 and under.

To purchase tickets, contact the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation at 239-985-3550.