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LVHN receives large donation for children’s hospital

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    An artist's rendering shows the Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published December 01. 2018 07:37AM

Lehigh Valley Health Network has received one of the largest gifts in its history from local philanthropists and business owners J.B. and Kathleen Reilly.

The sizable gift — the amount of which will be kept private per the family’s wishes — will be dedicated to supporting ongoing enhancements to programs, services and facilities of the Children’s Hospital, which now will be named Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital.

As part of its commitment to the care of children, LVHN opened the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital — Cedar Crest in 2012. The Reillys’ gift will bring a host of more than 30 pediatric specialties — from childhood cancer to cystic fibrosis — all under one roof.

“With the consolidation into a true children’s hospital, we will grow services and touch even more lives,” Physician-in-Chief of Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital Nathan Hagstrom, MD, said during a naming celebration on Thursday. “Just as these kids are growing fast, so are we,” he added.

The Reillys’ gift will fund updates to the hospital’s Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, as well as the construction of a new pediatric inpatient unit, complete with 30 private rooms and child-friendly touches, such as doors labeled by colors and animals and spaces for families to play with little ones. The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will be expanded to 12 beds with additional spaces for families, and more Child Life Specialists will be hired to help kids cope emotionally while they’re in the hospital.

A new designated entrance for Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital also will be built, and the Children’s ER will grow by 14 beds and open in 2021.

This is not the first time the Reillys have given to LVHN.

In 2016, the family also gave to what became the Reilly Children’s Surgery Center, which focuses on minimally invasive and state-of-the-art technologies for the hospital’s smallest patients. The surgery program now will be expanded to include care for congenital defects, hearing impairments and gastrointestinal disease.

The Reillys know firsthand what it is to have a child face a life-threatening health issue. Years ago, on two separate occasions, both of their daughters’ lives were saved by doctors at LVHN before being transferred outside the region for specialized care.

“We learned a lot,” Kathleen Reilly said in an interview in her home. “How important it is to be close not just to health care, but to pediatric health care.”

The Reillys hope their gift will help care for the children of the Lehigh Valley and beyond for many years to come.

“If children don’t have good health, it’s very hard for them to succeed and thrive in other ways,” she continued. “I would like the children’s hospital to be considered a jewel in the crown of the Lehigh Valley. The Lehigh Valley deserves it, and I hope the community will rally to support it.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of LVHN Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, believes they will.

“The Reillys have provided a transformational gift that will dramatically impact pediatric care across our region,” Nester said. “Rare and generous gifts like these have the opportunity to improve the lives of children and families for decades to come.”

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