Inspiring Former Patients Help Launch the Campaign for Rady Children’s

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 16, 2011 – Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego today announced “The Campaign for Rady Children’s,” an ambitious effort to raise $220 million to care for the sick and injured children of San Diego. A total of $208 million has been contributed so far, with $12 million still to be raised by December 2012.

Rady Children’s began the Campaign in 2007 when it urgently needed to raise funds to construct the Hospital’s Acute Care Pavilion, now home to the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, the Warren Family Surgical Center, the Viterbi Outpatient Clinic and Carley’s Magical Gardens.

Now Rady Children’s is asking the community to help it provide the most comprehensive care and advanced technology, and discover cures to childhood diseases. Three core components – Care, Technology and Discovery – define The Campaign for Rady Children’s.

Some extraordinary people will be the honorary chairs for the Campaign. Most San Diegans will recognize the first: legendary San Diego Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman. Trevor and his wife Tracy, who is also an honorary chair, are longtime supporters of Rady Children’s and advocates for children.

The other chairs represent the heart and soul of Rady Children’s. Their remarkable stories of overcoming life-threatening conditions capture the spirit of hope and healing found at the Hospital.

Sixteen-year-old Kassidy Brewer represents Care. With the help of teams of doctors, nurses and therapists, Kassidy is making a remarkable comeback from a ruptured brain aneurism that left her in a coma for three months. When she regained consciousness, Kassidy spent five weeks working with physical and speech therapists at Rady Children’s, relearning how to walk, speak and eat. Multiple surgeries followed, including an 11-hour procedure to cut off blood flow to the abnormal mass of blood vessels that caused the aneurism. Kassidy still receives follow up care and recently teamed up with a service dog named Chase that helps her balance. Kassidy continues to impress with her recovery, recently earning a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

“There’s one word for the doctors at Rady Children’s… amazing!” Kassidy said. “They will forever be in my heart and hopefully we’ll keep in touch for a very long time.”

Ian Quinones, 14, represents Technology. Ian’s heart stopped while in gym class. He was rushed to Rady Children’s where doctors induced a coma, and placed him on an ECMO machine to stabilize his heart. ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is advanced technology that circulates blood outside the body. When Ian was stable, Rady Children’s surgeons conducted a radiofrequency catheter ablation procedure in which a catheter was threaded up through Ian’s leg and into the heart. Radiofrequency energy was targeted to the pathways causing the abnormal heart rhythm, destroying those pathways. In Ian’s case, technology truly saved his life.

“When I woke up in the hospital I was surrounded by machines and cords were plugged in my nose and attached to my arms,” Ian said. “But the doctors and nurses were so nice and welcoming that they made it easier. They saved my life.”

Spunky 4-year-old Zara Brazel represents Discovery. In 2009 Zara was diagnosed with a deadly form of childhood cancer and spent seven months receiving chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial to treat her form of leukemia. Rady Children’s, UC San Diego Medical School, and a network of hospitals worldwide are members of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). This elite group discovers life-saving treatments and improves outcomes for children with cancer by sharing critical information gathered through clinical trials. By actively participating in this network of shared knowledge, Rady Children’s is fulfilling its obligation to provide access to the very latest research for every child. Thanks to the treatment she received during her clinical trial, Zara is thriving with no signs of cancer.

“I think research is very important because without doing more research and developing new treatments for children, who knows where Zara would have been today,” Zara’s mother, Colette said.

“Kassidy, Ian, Zara are just three examples of the care we provide to the 150,000 children that we treat every year at Rady Children’s,” said Kathleen Sellick, President and CEO of Rady Children’s. “Gifts to this campaign mean these children will have the chance to run and dance and grow and learn and live their lives to their full potential.”

As the only pediatric hospital in the San Diego region, and the largest children’s hospital in California, Rady Children’s is a safety net for the thousands of children who visit the Hospital every year. More than 50 percent of the patients cared for at Rady Children’s have little or no medical insurance.

“As citizens of San Diego we should take great pride in Rady Children’s,” said David F. Hale, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Rady Children’s. “This is an institution that, in addition to providing every child with access to the best care, the latest research, and the most advanced technology, Rady Children’s is training the next generation of physicians to provide hope and healing to children.”

"Achieving this $220 million goal will allow Rady Children’s to bring even more important research from the laboratory to the bedside, and make The Campaign for Rady Children’s the second largest completed campaign in the history of San Diego," said Hale.

About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego:
Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, the largest children’s hospital in California, is a 442-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, Southern Riverside and Imperial counties. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. On October 10, 2010, Rady Children’s opened the Acute Care Pavilion, a LEED-Certified (green) building that is home to the incredible Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, the state-of-the-art Warren Family Surgical Center, and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for our community’s most fragile newborns. In May 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rady Children’s among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in all ten pediatric specialties the magazine surveyed. For more information, visit www.rchsd.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.