As we celebrate the 40th year of the Art and Antiques Show and the 25th year of Florida Forum, we are proud to look back on The Women’s Board’s legacy of support for Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Funds raised by The Women’s Board over the past 43 years have supported a number of projects and programs, and we are excited to share our legacy through this special series of patient stories.
When Zuri and her twin brother, Zihir, were born at a local hospital at just 25-weeks gestation, doctors wondered if either baby would survive. Both babies immediately required newborn intensive care and additional medical procedures. Zihir was transferred to Wolfson Children’s Hospital via the Kid’s Kare Ambulance (a project supported by The Women’s Board), where he underwent a successful surgery to repair a hole in his heart before being discharged.
Zuri, on the other hand, spent several months in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at another local hospital before being transferred to the Level III NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. After four months in the Wolfson Children’s Hospital NICU, Zuri was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital where the staff are equipped to take care of her multiple, complex medical needs. Due to her severe prematurity, Zuri faces bronchial pulmonary dysplasia (a chronic lung disease), pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in her lungs), bleeding in her brain, osteopenia (low bone-density), and an umbilical hernia. Zuri recently celebrated her first birthday with the PICU staff, and due to the evidence-based practice approaches and care she has received, she continues to grow bigger and stronger. Pediatric critical care physician Solange Benjamin, MD, medical director of the PICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said children like Zuri receive the best care because the team treats them like their own while combining their skills and experience in the critical care setting. “Zuri has progressed from being a very sick baby to doing things a normal child would do, like giving us lots of smiles and showing her playful personality,” she said.
The Women’s Board, which was created because of a premature baby like Zuri who died at Wolfson in 1972 due to the hospital’s lack of NICU equipment at that time, is proud of our legacy of support for Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s NICU and PICU. Because of one family’s loss and the voluntarism of hundreds of women over the past four decades who believe in this vital mission, thousands of children like Zuri have been touched and their lives improved and even saved. In fact, the level of care provided at Wolfson’ s PICU recently earned a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence, making it the only children’s hospital in Florida to receive this award and one of only 300 intensive care units in the country (adult or pediatric) to receive the award since 2010.
As Zuri’s mom and twin brother look to a future with Zuri at home, we look to the past and the long-lasting impact of The Women’s Board’s philanthropic support of Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Plan to join us in 2016 for the 40th annual Art and Antiques Show and the 25th annual Florida Forum as we continue to raise funds for Wolfson Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgery Center of Distinction and other vital hospital needs. After 43 years of fundraising, we’ve really only just begun.