The One Hundred on Thursday presented a $350,000 check for the Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah, fulfilling a pledge to raise enough money over five years to secure the naming rights to the pediatric emergency department wing on the campus of Memorial University Medical Center.
The presentation came two years ahead of schedule from representatives of the One Hundred with executives from the Memorial Health Foundation – Memorial Health’s philanthropic arm – and the Willett Children’s Hospital.
Nadine Bothwell, president of the One Hundred, explained that the bulk of the money came from the proceeds of the group’s annual gala. This year’s version of that event is the 22nd and – with dinner, dancing, and auctions – has been dubbed “Moonlight and Miracles.” Once again, the funds raised will benefit the children’s hospital.
“We exist to advocate, volunteer and fundraise for the children’s hospital,” said Bothwell. “That’s our original mission, and we plan to continue to do so.”
Since its founding in 1994 at the suggestion of pediatrician Dr. Edwin C. Shepherd, the One Hundred has raised some $4 million for the children’s hospital at Memorial. Major equipment purchases account for the bulk of that, but the group also has several ongoing projects. Among these are Reach Out and Read, an early literacy program that puts books in the hands of the hospital’s youngest patients; an annual Christmas party that involves gifts to hospitalized children; volunteer hours spent tutoring sick children in the school work they are missing, or helping entertain them during chemotherapy sessions; and the packing and donation of an average of 60 “Baby Bundles” each month, providing baskets of necessities for newborns of needy families.
The Willett Children’s Hospital will ultimately be housed in a freestanding building on the Truman Parkway side of Memorial’s campus. Renovation work has begun on the existing three-story building that previously housed Memorial’s rehabilitation facility. Meanwhile, the children’s hospital continues to operate on parts of Memorial’s second and third floors.