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Lee Memorial Health System Children’s Hospital celebrates 15th anniversary

By Staff | May 23, 2012

Carol Orr Hartman Jackie Deboy, front left, and her parents, Johnand Julie, enjoy visiting with Jackie’s favorite doctor, Dr. MacArthur, center.

The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida celebrated a milestone Sunday, May 20. It has been 15 years that Lee County has had the Pediatric Hematology / Oncology program, and the hospital celebrated with a huge party in the HealthPark atrium with all the doctors and many patients who attended for the celebration and reunion.

Without the department, the 3,500 children for the past 15 years that the hospital has treated would have had to travel to Tampa or Miami for their treatment. The pediatric cancer program at The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is one of nine regional cancer centers in the state of Florida that provides the latest in treatment protocols for children battling cancer or a blood disorder.

It was a poignant afternoon – children who had gone through treatment in the hospital, with children who are currently undergoing treatment and were able to attend, had a chance to eat, visit and share in an atmosphere of celebration.

Dr. Emad Salman received the prestigious Prendergast Award for his support and dedication to his patients and the hospital. Jim Nathan, president and CEO of the Lee Memorial Hospital System gave an emotional tribute to Salman, thanking him for his vision to help build the Children’s Hospital to where it is.

The medical staff, led by Salman, enjoyed the afternoon visiting with the many children and young adults. Julie Briggs gave an emotional talk about her treatment and recovery and gratitude to the hospital. A teenage representative, Ben Klassen, talked about his closeness to his doctors and the medical staff who treat every patient with dedication and love and form close bonds that last.

Cali Russell with her mom and dad, Mindy and Josh, at the celebration.

Cali Russell, this year’s LMH Child of Hope from Cape Coral, offered a cute thank you from the arms of Dan Fink, the chief administrative officer of the Children’s Hospital.

Light refreshments and cakes, provided by Norman Love and Norman Love Confections, made this afternoon a very special treat for all who attended.