Members of the Augusta community donned their dancing shoes and colorful black-tie attire to celebrate the region’s only children’s hospital at the fifth annual Augusta University President’s Gala.
The event, which celebrated nearly $4 million raised for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia this year, took place at the newly restored hangar at Daniel Field Airport, where guests took part in a Tombola raffle, a strolling dinner and dancing.
Proceeds from this year’s event will help Children’s, which celebrated 20 years at its current location last year, continue providing the highest level of pediatric and neonatal care in the region.
The night began with Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, unveiling a plan for a future expansion at Children’s that would allow the hospital to see more babies and children at its current location with increased capacity in neonatal and pediatric intensive care areas.
“Just as our great state is growing, [Children’s] needs to grow,” Keel said.
Plans include the hospital’s first dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant unit to support the future of cancer care in children. Currently, children with cancer and other diseases needing a bone marrow transplant must have the procedure done elsewhere, often creating an additional burden by uprooting families from their home. The new unit would have dedicated beds for children receiving a transplant, which often takes place over a period of weeks or months.
Increased capacity is also needed in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which currently has 45 beds and provides the highest level of care for critically ill babies. Plans include a larger 55-bed neonatal intensive care unit and space for families.
As one of only three health systems across Georgia and South Carolina with a specialized pediatric heart program, also planned is a new pediatric cardiac critical care unit with dedicated patient rooms and space for infants and children with congenital heart defects.
Project plans and scope are still under development.
For those who were unable to attend but would like to make a donation, gifts can be made through the university website.