Making a Difference — Project Team for Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham Sponsors Programs to Help Patients and Their Families
December 1, 2010

The Building Group's project team for the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, an all-new state-of-the-art facility under construction in Birmingham, Alabama, is actively involved in some local initiatives with special meaning. Most recently, the team partnered with Gabe's My Heart, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education and comfort to children undergoing cancer treatment through medical play using therapeutic tools. Gabe, a cancer survivor and son of Rob Sipos, an estimator in our Nashville office, visited the jobsite and existing hospital and met with children to pass out gift packs supplied by the Building Group, along with copies of the all-new Chemo Duck "Soup-A-Hero" cartoon. It meant a lot to the children to meet a fellow survivor who is also their peer. Now, a healthy third grader, Gabe is encouraging others and bringing hope to children and parents alike. His visit to the jobsite was truly an inspiration to the team members and reaffirmed the work they are doing to provide a new facility for children undergoing treatment.

The Building Group, in partnership with Hoar Construction, is building the new 12-story pediatric expansion facility. This $275 million children’s hospital is designed for 280 beds and 16 operating rooms and is due for completion in Season 2012.

Wall of Inspiration
In addition to supporting Gabe's My Heart, the team has created its own weekly "Wall of Inspiration." Each week the team collects five to 10 patient names to paint on the side of the building. "The children are always so excited to see that they are part of the new facility," said Laura Rose, assistant project manager. Not long ago, we invited the families of those children (to date) who have been honored on the Wall of Inspiration. Each child was presented with a framed photo of his or her name painted on the building and a rendering of what the new facility will look like.— Event Speakers included Children's President and CEO Mike Warren, Children's Executive Vice President Mike McDevitt, and the Building Group's Project Superintendent, Red Hyde.

The Wall of Inspiration initiative has already had a positive impact. The Children's Hospital Foundation's received the following thank you note from a patient's family: "When we arrived home yesterday from work we had mail on our front porch from Children's Hospital, it was the photo of Brandon's name stenciled on the hospital during construction. Oh my, tears came to my eyes. Thank you so much for seeing that we received a copy of this. It is so special knowing that his name is on there and we celebrate it because his story had a happy ending. We are blessed beyond measure and to have this photo as a reminder of that means more than you know. Thank you again for including our son in the construction phase of the new Children's Hospital."

About Gabe's My Heart — Gabe's My Heart was established to assist family members being treated for childhood cancer. When a child is diagnosed with cancer the whole family suffers, and everyone requires personalized healing. Gabe's My Heart offers therapeutic play tools and education to assist every member of the family. This organization was founded in 2004 by Lu Sipos, wife of Rob Sipos, an estimator in our Nashville office. When their son, Gabe, was diagnosed with cancer just one week shy of his first birthday, they could not find a way to help explain his treatment. Lu took a stuffed duck, added a Chemotherapy port, hospital pajamas and a bandanna and created Chemo Duck. Gabe's My Heart was developed to bring Chemo Duck and other useful products to families in the same situation. Today, Gabe continues to have routine hospital visits and still plays doctor with his Chemo Duck, but is a proud cancer survivor who loves to spend time with other children in treatment.

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