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HEALTHCARE–$3.2M Donated to Children’s Convalescent Hospital

Local Leaders Join Cancer Center’s Board of Trustees

Children’s Hospital and Health Center has just gotten a step closer to funding the construction of a new convalescent hospital for San Diego’s terminally ill children.

The Waitt Family Foundation, founded by Ted Waitt, chairman of computer giant Gateway Inc., contributed $3.2 million toward the construction of a new 44,000-square-foot facility.

The project to be built on the campus of Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Kearny Mesa will cost $15 million, according to Children’s officials.

The current building is half that size and has a total of three bathrooms to service 59 children, said David Gillig Sr., vice president of Children’s Hospital Foundation. He added the outdated facility also has no access ramp into the hospital, making it difficult to provide care.

According to Gillig, the new facility will be a boon for children and hospital staff alike.

“Each room will be much bigger and the overall general space will be twice as big,” Gillig said. It will include 15 bathrooms, a garden, Jacuzzi, playroom, and a computer room. In addition, the new building will provide direct access to the acute care hospital, Gillig said.

Comfort is important as most children remain at the facility for their entire short life, Gillig said. The kids, most of whom range in age from newborns to 15-year-olds, stay between four and five years at the facility.

Care costs about $186,000 a year per child, Gillig estimated. Medi-Cal, California’s program to provide medical care for needy and poor persons, reimburses Children’s for services rendered, a spokesman said.

The Waitt donation will bring the total funds raised to construct the facility to $11.7 million. The state of California contributed $5 million and the federal government gave $2 million.

Children’s Hospital Auxiliary pledged $1 million, and $500,000 came from private sources. That leaves Children’s with a funding gap of $3.3 million, the health care organization said.

But Gillig is optimistic fund-raisers will bring in the additional funds.

“We hope to raise it through additional major gifts,” Gillig said. If necessary, Children’s will take out a small loan.

Groundbreaking for the new hospital is scheduled for this winter. Children’s projects hospital doors will open March 2003.

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High-Profile Board Members: The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center announced March 30 it added three new members to its board of trustees.

They are Robert J. Nugent, president and chief executive of Jack in the Box Inc., one of the nation’s largest fast-food restaurants; Lowell A. Potiker, vice president of acquisitions for HSP Group, Inc., a private venture company in La Jolla; and Lawrence M. Sherman, a partner with the San Diego-based law offices of Sherman & Lapidus, LLP.

In 1998, San Diego’s Ernst & Young selected Nugent as Entrepreneur of the Year for innovation, excellence and success in financial performance and personal commitment to Jack in the Box.

Potiker deals with companies that are involved in affinity marketing, corporate training, voice recognition and Internet technology.

In 1998, Potiker won the Young Leadership Award by the United Jewish Federation of San Diego.

Sherman moved to San Diego in 1976 from New York to join the senior management team of The Fedmart Corp. He later headed the successor real estate firm as president. In 1983, Sherman returned to practicing law full-time.

“We are honored to have such outstanding professionals and community leaders join the Center’s board,” said Dr. Thomas Shiftan, chairman of the board in a written statement.

The Cancer Center was founded in 1990 as the San Diego Regional Cancer Center, an independent, nonprofit research center dedicated to the development of novel biological therapies for cancer and other related diseases.

Party For A Good Cause: The Cystic Fibrosis Guild of San Diego is inviting everyone to a dinner and dance party at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in La Jolla.

All proceeds will be used to fund research to battle the debilitating chronic lung disease which afflicts about one in 2,500 Caucasians, according to published reports.

The event starts with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a dinner and a live auction, the organization said.

Tino and His Orchestra will entertain guests with big band and swing tunes.

Tickets are $175 per person and are available by calling (858) 277-5880.


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