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Every day, donors like you make gifts of all sizes to build a healthier future for children and expectant mothers. Your support makes our hospital a special place for our patients and families, and we are tremendously grateful.

Committee Dedicated to Helping PANS Families

Thank you to Ramesh Allen, Monika Cheney, and Jessie Socks for co-chairing the Stanford Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) Volunteer Action Committee. These chair­women lead a group of more than 20 community members devoted to meeting its goal of raising $3 million to fuel groundbreaking PANS research spearheaded by pedi­atric rheumatologist Jennifer Frankovich, MD, MS.

Frankovich and child psychiatrist Margo Thienemann, MD, lead the Stanford PANS Clinic & Research Program, which conducts inter­disciplinary research and cares for more than 350 patients who have debilitating inflammation of the body and brain. The Stanford PANS Clinic & Research Program was founded in 2012 as the first comprehen­sive, multidisciplinary PANS program in the world.

The program’s goals include identifying biological markers of PANS, improving treatment protocols, and, ultimately, finding a cure for this devasting condition. Last September, the committee hosted a dinner at the Menlo Circus Club, raising money for critical research projects and enabling Stanford physician-scientists to join in this exciting, interdisci­plinary team.

Thank you, Jessie, Monika, and Ramesh, for your tireless efforts to help children with PANS!

Community Donates Germ-Zapping Robots to Fight COVID-19

When the coronavirus first hit California, a team from UBS Financial Services rallied more than 100 friends and family to raise $140,000 for Packard Children’s. Amazingly, they exceeded their $115,000 goal in one week! Their donation supported the purchase of an environmental cleaning robot and other COVID-19 efforts. The Applebaum Foundation of New York joined the effort, covering half the cost of the robot.

Another dedicated group of fundraisers—volunteers from the Auxiliaries—showed their support during this time of need. The Association of Auxiliaries Board quickly came together—calling an emergency virtual meeting—and voted unanimously to donate $115,000 from the 2020 Auxiliaries Endowment payout to fund a second robot.

These LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots will work quickly to prevent harmful infections in our hospital by destroying deadly microorganisms with ultraviolet light.

Thank you for your collective efforts and swift action to keep our patients safe!

Tad and Dianne Taube Drive Groundbreaking Cancer Research

We are grateful to Tad and Dianne Taube for their ongo­ing support of childhood cancer research at Packard Children’s. They recently donated $2 million to support sarcoma research. Sarcomas make up roughly 15 percent of pediatric cancer cases. Survival rates, which hover around 70 percent, haven’t increased dramatically in the last 30 years.

The Taubes’ gift will help David G. Mohler, MD, chief of our hospi­tal’s Musculoskeletal Tumor Clinic, to drive research that will improve survival rates. Mohler will use the funds to create a data hub where researchers from the nation’s top cancer centers can collaborate and develop new approaches to treating sarcomas.

The Taubes also made a $500,000 matching gift to support research in stem-cell transplantation and inspire others in the community to join them in supporting this work. Currently, patients who need a stem cell transplant must first undergo chemotherapy or radiation. But they need to be healthy enough to withstand the harsh side effects. Their gift will support Agnieszka Czechowicz, MD, PhD, whose research aims to eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation, enabling more children to experi­ence the benefits of a stem cell transplant.

These gifts build on a $6 million donation the couple made to pediatric cancer research in 2019. Thank you, Tad and Dianne, for your commitment to finding better treatments and cures for children with cancer.

Making Hospital Stays More Fun

Spirit Halloween has partnered with us for 14 years to help make hospital stays more comfortable for our patients. Their Spirit of Children campaign raises money in-store and online to support child life departments at hospi­tals across the United States and Canada. In 2019, Spirit Halloween stores in Northern California raised more than $135,000 in support of the Child Life and Creative Arts Department at our hospital. Their gift will help purchase sensory toys and support special events throughout the year.

Thank you, Spirit Halloween, for bringing the fun and joy of play to every patient and family at Packard Children’s.

Katie Stivers Finds Time to Give Back and Volunteer

Katie Stivers of Menlo Park is living life to the fullest in retire­ment. She enjoys traveling to distant places such as Tanzania and Antarctica while dedicating her extra time to volunteering closer to home at Packard Children’s.

Before retirement, Katie over­saw Apple’s corporate sponsorship of our hospital as the company’s head of global benefits. “I really appreciated the mission of the hospital—that it is a nonprofit and that it serves everyone, regardless of their ability to pay,” Katie says.

Katie retired in 2017 and looked for ways to continue to support Packard Children’s. She started as a volunteer in our hospital’s market­ing department. In December, she became a baby cuddler in the neonatal intensive care unit. She also volunteers at Ronald McDonald House fundraisers and events.

Katie generously supports our hospital and care for all as an annual donor to the Children’s Fund. Last year, she included a legacy gift to Packard Children’s in her trust.

“I don’t have any children of my own,” she says. “I consider that this is the way to give back to children of the future.”

Thank you, Katie, for giving your time and investing in a healthy future for children!

Innovative Approach to Spur Heart Research

Additonal Ventures gave $1 million to the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center at Packard Children’s in January. The grant will launch high-impact research with the goal of finding cures for children with single ventricle heart defects (SVDs). These types of heart defects are among the most challenging and costliest to treat.

The funds will be awarded as seed grants to investigators at Stanford for novel, out-of-the-box thinking and studies relevant to SVDs. In addition, Packard Children’s and Stanford University School of Medicine will work together and share knowledge with four other institutions that received grants.

“We are grateful to Additional Ventures for this gift to fund inno­vative, multidisciplinary research Medicine,” says Frank Hanley, MD, the Lawrence Crowley, MD, Endowed Professor in Child Health at the School of Medicine and chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Packard Children’s.

The gift complements an earlier gift that Additional Ventures made to fund the Comprehensive Single Ventricle Program at Packard Children’s. Launched in 2017, the program aims to improve survival, optimize outcomes, and help chil­dren and young adults live life to the fullest.

Thank you, Additional Ventures, for your visionary gift!

Generosity Soars at Southwest Airlines

Since 2010, Southwest Airlines has generously given 1,000 complimen­tary roundtrip tickets to Packard Children’s patients and families who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of travel to our hospital. This ensures that families can focus on getting the care they need. In 2020, given the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions for patients, Southwest extended these flights to medical personnel as well.

In 2019, we were thrilled to be selected as a beneficiary of Southwest Airlines’ 34th Annual LUV Classic golf tournament and party. Amy Wong, director of Corporate Relations at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, met Southwest Airlines’ CEO Gary Kelly and accepted a $100,000 gift on behalf of Packard Children’s. We are grateful to Southwest Airlines for taking chil­dren’s health to new heights.

Eight Marathons in Eight Days Around the World

Brendan Watkins took on an incredible challenge: running eight marathons in eight days on seven continents plus New Zealand while raising funds for Packard Children’s. In January, he succeeded by running 209.6 miles total in marathons located in Auckland, New Zealand; Perth, Australia; Singapore; Cairo, Egypt; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; New York City; Punta Arenas, Chile; and King George Island, Antarctica.

Watkins raised more than $7,000 for the Children’s Fund with the help of his friends, family, and colleagues at Stanford Children’s Health, where he works in the Information Systems division as administrative director of enterprise analytics. The Children’s Fund supports our hospital’s highest priorities in pediatric and obstetric research, family and community programs, and undercompensated care.

“I was so happy that I was able to raise money for the Children’s Fund through this adventure,” Brendan says. “My friends and colleagues knew they were giving to a great cause and helping kids and families while giving me a boost of support. The positive energy from my supporters was a motivating and thrilling experience.”

We are grateful to Brendan for running his Triple 8 Quest to benefit children at our hospital, and to the many donors who showed their support!

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Packard Children’s News.