On Saturday, May 4, dragons and warriors alike will descend to the TVA Park at Chickamauga Dam for a water war like no other to benefit Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
Dating back more than 2,300 years, Dragon Boat racing features teams of 20 paddlers with a drummer and a steerer in an authentic 41-foot long Chinese dragon boat, racing to the finish line on a body of water. Paddlers of all ages, skill and fitness levels can participate, making it the ultimate team building sport.
It may be cold outside, but now is the time to form your team and register with the Children’s Hospital Foundation. New this year, corporate and community teams can register online for a boat and a fundraising page by going to www.paddleforchildrenshospital.org.
Participants are encouraged to raise $3,600 per team or $172 per person in pledges; approximately ten cents for every child who is treated annually at Children’s Hospital. During last year’s event, paddlers from 53 teams raised $150,000 for the hospital.
Each team will have one on-water practice prior to the event and compete in at least two heats on race day. Teams will then race in qualifying heats for the title of Grand Champion. Teams can also decorate their tents, wear their dragon apparel and cheer throughout the races.
Top prizes will be awarded to the fastest teams and the teams who raise the most money, but the real winners are the children treated at the hospital.
To learn more about the Children’s Hospital Dragon Boat Festival, visit www.paddleforchildrenshospital.org or call 423-778-3989.
Rachel Price, daughter of Shannon and Dana Price from Sale Creek, is our January Miracle Kid. Rachel was rarely sick, but in August of 2011 she knew things weren’t right. Rachel had persistent symptoms of super dry skin and hair loss and really didn’t feel like her self. A knot was then found under her arm and she was first given stronger antibiotics. But there was still no improvement to her condition. A biopsy and pathology report revealed she had anaplastic large cell lymphoma. But even with the news, Rachel refused to slow down. Through weekly chemotherapy treatments, Rachel remains playing basketball. She has even played with a feeding tube in place. Rachel is also playing volleyball and is a cheerleader. She is already thinking about her college options and is interested in becoming a CRNA and going on medical mission trips.
Rachel is just one of the many kids we’ll feature through 2013. These brave kids and their families serve as ambassadors and represent the healing mission of Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
The winning GEM story is a great example of absolute commitment to serving our patients and meeting all of their needs. “Our department had a mentally challenged patient for several weeks. The patient often got verbally and physically aggressive with the staff. He is often so agitated that he will not allow the nursing staff to administer anything to calm him down. Due to his physical aggression, we had to call for help from Security for the safety of the staff and the patient. The Security team is always very prompt, even when they had to respond to this same situation multiple times. There is one security officer, Jake Thomas, that we feel has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Jake did not come in and exert his power authority, but rather talked calmly and softly until the patient calmed down. Once Jake had the patient calm, he would spend some time with him. This was so heartwarming considering the patient had been with us for several weeks and rarely had anyone come to visit. One afternoon, Jake calmed the patient down and brought a piece of chocolate cake to the patient. Jake’s actions have been very much appreciated by the NW9 staff and we are very proud to know when we need support from Security, we have someone like Jake responding to our calls for help.” Jake’s actions reflected all five of our core values.
Thank you, Jake, for your service and dedication to our patients!
Photo caption: Gregg Gentry, Chief Administrative Officer, right, presented Jake with a Gold Class Employee of the Month certificate and gift card. Robert Rorick, left Director of Security, and Jan Keys, Interim Chief Nursing Officer, celebrated with the NW9 and Security Teams.
George Wade III doesn’t remember much about the Tuesday afternoon when his heart stopped beating. The seventeen-year-old remembers the roll call for his physical education class, and he vaguely recalls asking if he and some classmates could play full-court basketball.
But the staff at Ooltewah High School vividly remembers every detail of October 30, 2012, in the school gymnasium.
Ooltewah coach Donnie Mullins watched George leap up to take a jump shot at the basketball hoop, then collapse to the gym floor. “At that instant, I wasn’t too alarmed,” the coach later explained. “George is a light-hearted kid, and I thought he may have been joking around.”
But the coach quickly realized the situation wasn’t a mere teenage prank. George wasn’t moving, wasn’t breathing. Coach Mullins called out to the school’s athletic trainer, Randy Wilkes, for help.
The trainer rushed from his gym office, accompanied by school nurse Denice Ray. Normally, the nurse was never in the gym at the close of the school day. But on this fateful afternoon, she was in the right place at the right time—just as her colleagues.
Racing across the gym, Wilkes yelled, “Get the AED!” Coach Mullins sprinted through the gym and rushed across campus to retrieve the school’s only automatic external defibrillator, located on the far side of the cafeteria.
Trainer Wilkes and nurse Ray hurried to the boy’s side. No pulse. No heartbeat. Not even a wisp of a breath. The pair immediately administered CPR. Rick Adolph, PE teacher, called 9-1-1 to summon more help.
AED in hand, Coach Mullins raced back into the gym. Trainer Wilkes quickly attached the defibrillator. Through first-hand experience, the trainer knew the AED would guide him through the steps to jumpstart George’s heart. Focusing on the life-threatening situation at hand, he tried not to think about another time he’d used an AED on another student in another school. Tried not to remember the fatal results.
The machine took over, sending a shock through the lifeless seventeen-year-old. When George failed to respond, the trainer and nurse administered CPR once again. A second shock flashed through George’s body. This time, his heartbeat resumed.
Within minutes, Hamilton County EMS arrived on the scene. George’s classmates stood to the side, orderly and silent, as paramedics loaded the unconscious teen into a waiting ambulance.
Little did anyone realize that George’s mom, Yolanda Wade, had just arrived on campus to pick up her son from school. She caught a glimpse of the stretcher being loaded into the ambulance. A sinking feeling swept through her. Please, Lord. Don’t let it be my son.
She circled the parking lot, saw the ambulance take off, then hurriedly parked her car and rushed into the gym. Taking one look at the expression on the face of Principal Mark Bean, Yolanda knew the news was bad. “George collapsed,” the principal said, “and he’s on the way to Erlanger.”
”Right then, I knew it was serious,” Yolanda recalls. “Other hospitals were closer, and everyone knows Erlanger is the only place to go when you’re really sick.”
She also knew, from first-hand experience, about the miracles that take place at Erlanger. George, who weighed only one pound, 13.5 ounces at birth, spent the first four months of his life in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Now he was back on Third Street, fighting for life once again.
At Erlanger, doctors determined George had experienced sudden cardiac death. An abnormally thick heart muscle, a condition known as hypertrophic heart disease, had triggered a fatal heart attack. In the pediatric intensive care unit, George received a medical treatment known as therapeutic hypothermia to lower his body temperature and help reduce the risk of any brain damage.
George’s parents and sister, April, gathered at his bedside and prayed. Doctors warned the family that the next 12 hours were critical.
Within hours, George miraculously opened his eyes. By late afternoon, he was eating applesauce, saying a few words, wanting to know what had happened to him. Over the next 24 hours, his rapid progress astounded Dr. David Gbadebo of UT Erlanger Cardiology. For full recovery, the teen would need an internal defibrillator implanted into his chest to monitor and regulate his heartbeat. Dr. Gbadebo performed the procedure less than 72 hours after George’s heart attack—several days sooner than expected due to the teen’s swift improvement.
The day after George’s surgery, Principal Bean visited the teen at the hospital. “It’s a day I will never forget,” the principal said. “I asked George how he was feeling. He flashed a big smile and said, ‘Mr. Bean, I’m just happy to be alive.’”
“George made a remarkable recovery,” Dr. Gbadebo explains. “Everything worked perfectly in his favor – from the staff on the scene to the quick EMS response to his treatment at Erlanger.”
Today, with the support of his loving family, George is resuming life to its fullest. His sister, April, resigned from her job so she could stay at home with her brother during his recovery. After the holidays, April will start graduate school and George plans to return to Ooltewah High School to complete his senior year. His ultimate goal is to follow in the footsteps of his hero, famed pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, author of Gifted Hands …and help others experience the same type of Miracle on Third Street.
George Wade III, right, is grateful to the staff members of Ooltewah High School for their quick response: Athletic Trainer Randy Wilkes, kneeling with AED, PE Teacher Rick Adolph, Principal Mark R. Bean, Coach Donnie Mullins, and Nurse Denice Ray.
Parents George and Yolanda Wade, left, and sister April Warren are grateful for George’s swift recovery during this Christmas season.
Chattanooga, Tenn. — Erlanger Health System and Legal Aid of East Tennessee recently celebrated the first anniversary of Erlanger Health Law Partnership (EHLP) and noted major accomplishments of providing legal assistance for low-income patients.
Emily Lay, EHLP attorney, announced that over 90 individuals have been served during EHLP’s first year of operation. EHLP helps low-income patients with issues such as substandard housing, lack of access to public support programs, and family violence – all issues that can affect health.
“We’ve helped reduced the number of returning emergency room visits by assisting patients with legal issues,” Lay explained. “We’ve also executed dozens of power of attorney (POA) documents and advanced care plans, and provided orders of protection for victims of domestic violence.”
Erlanger Health Law Partnership (EHLP) provides free, direct legal services to Erlanger patients with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. By combining the health care expertise of hospital professionals with the legal expertise of attorneys, the Erlanger Health Law Partnership provides services to address the legal, policy, and ethical issues that affect patients’ health.
“EHLP is the only model of its kind in Tennessee,” added Dave Yoder, Executive Director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee, “and one of only six in the Southeast. We are very proud of this successful partnership.” Yoder also announced that the Benwood Foundation made a substantial donation to EHLP this year.
“You’ve made Erlanger an access point for justice,” praised Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams, one of the featured speakers during the celebration.
The EHLP office on the Erlanger Baroness Campus assists with the needs of low-income patients, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Members of the Unwanted Motorcycle Club reach their ninth year visiting patients on Christmas Eve at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
The rumble of motorcycles on Blackford Street was a huge clue something exciting was about to happen. Twenty motorcyclists in leather vests and chaps walked into the hospital carrying teddy bears. For nine years, it has become a tradition the club members look forward to every holiday season.
“We come every Christmas Eve and give a teddy bear to every patient at the hospital,” said club treasurer Russ Robbins. “It is a privilege for us to be here and be able to do it. Just to see the smiles and families getting excited is very rewarding.”
The club’s devotion to Children’s Hospital has been tremendous over the years. This year, their annual poker run raised $7,000 for Children’s Hospital and was donated in memory of club founder and Children’s Hospital supporter, Terry Yates.
The Unwanted Motorcycle Club was formed by fire, police and military personnel who share the same interest in riding motorcycles while maintaining a brotherhood of honoring those in “noble professions.”
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Thanks to the generous support from the community and listeners of Sunny 92.3, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger Foundation raised $125,000 in pledges and donations during the 6th Annual Cure Kids Cancer Radiothon on December 10-15.
Sunny 92.3 with James Howard and Kim Carson aired live during the week from the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders and Hamilton Place Mall. Listeners heard from patients, family members, along with physicians, nurses, and staff members, about the wonderful things the center does in treating young patients with cancer and blood disorders.
“We are grateful our patients and families had an opportunity to share their priceless stories and are extremely fortunate to have such incredibly generous support from Sunny 92.3, James, Kim and Danny,” said Dr. Eric Gratias, oncology specialist at Children’s Hospital.
“We not only have to thank the team at Sunny 92.3 for hosting the event, but also their outstanding listeners and other donors who contributed to such a special cause and place right here in Chattanooga,” added Yogi Anderson, Director of Erlanger Foundations.
The donations raised during the Cure Kids Cancer Radiothon will provide much needed equipment, programs, care and research at the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders for children battling cancer from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.
Donations to the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital are still being accepted by going to www.erlangerfoundations.org or calling 423-778-6600. For more information on the center, visit www.erlanger.org/cancerhitshome.
Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders
The oncology program at Children’s Hospital, the only facility in the region specifically trained to provide cancer care to children and young adults, is part of a national network of children’s hospitals called Children’s Oncology Group. This group meets regularly to share information on childhood cancer and standardize protocols.