Taking a virtual 'Walk Across America' means major steps for pediatric healthcare

September 19, 2008

The University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital is joining other pediatric hospitals throughout the country for "Walk Across America," a novel approach to raise funds to provide health care for children and their families. Walk Across America is a "virtual" walk that can be done anywhere from Sept. 27 through the end of October.

Walk Across America's 53 hospitals are banding together to tackle the special challenges of pediatric treatment. At Comer Children's Hospital, a family-centered approach is a cornerstone of care as specialists handle some of the most challenging patient cases. For many families, the state-of-the-art hospital is a "destination" hospital they come to because of the advanced capabilities of its facilities and staff.

Sponsored by the Together for Kids organization, Walk Across America accommodates schedules of busy people who are unable to attend an event but still want to make strides in children's health care. Fundraisers secure pledges and walk when and where they want. Supporters are able to track their progress at www.togetherforkids.org.

What

Walk Across America
An inventive way for busy people to raise funds to support Comer Children's Hospital

When

September 27--October 31

Where

Walkers can walk anywhere, anytime and track their progress on www.togetherforkids.org to raise funds for Comer Children's Hospital

Walk Across America ties into the sixth annual Comer Kids' Classic on Saturday. Oct. 18, and shares a common goal--delivering lifesaving health care for kids. Winding through Hyde Park, the Kids' Classic is a 5K run/walk and a shorter Kids' Dash that also raise vital funds for care at the children's hospital. Supporters can increase contributions by participating in both events.

Contributions have helped pediatric oncologists at Comer Children's hospital, such as Tara Henderson, MD, MPH. Money raised at last year's Comer Kids' Classic helped Henderson expand her program to follow childhood cancer survivors in order to gain a better understanding of their health needs later in life. Henderson is medical director of the University of Chicago Medical Center Childhood Cancer Survivor Center.

The center has been able to help educate primary care doctors about long-term side effects to screen these patients for, including physical, psychological, cognitive, and social issues that can occur. The Comer Kids' Classic grant enabled Henderson to improve the care of all childhood cancer survivors, including a significant number of minority cancer survivors who had been underrepresented in the past.

"We have made really great strides in this area of study over the last two years," Henderson says. "It's really amazing that even these small contributions that everyone made to the Comer Kids' Classic helped us rocket into this area to better study survivors of childhood cancer."

Staff at Comer Children's Hospital takes care of more than just the child--they care for the family. It takes an extensive system to meet the special needs of a child and his or her irreplaceable family. The children's hospital is not reimbursed for many of these programs.

Participants can register for Walk Across America and donors can make a pledge at www.togetherforkids.org. Supporters can raise money as an individual, or join a team of co-workers or students.

For details about the Medical Center's Walk Across America, please contact Carol Marshall (773) 702-9205.

About the University of Chicago Medical Center

The University of Chicago Medical Center, established in 1927, is one of the nation's leading academic medical institutions. It consists of the renowned Pritzker School of Medicine; Bernard Mitchell Hospital, the primary adult patient care facility; Comer Children's Hospital, devoted to the medical needs of children; Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a maternity and women's hospital; and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, a state-of-the-art ambulatory-care facility with the full spectrum of preventive, diagnostic, and treatment functions. Care is provided by more than 700 attending physicians - most of whom are full-time University faculty members - 620 residents and fellows, more than 1,000 nurses and 9,500 employees.

The Medical Center is consistently recognized as a leading provider of complex medical care. It is the only Illinois hospital ever to make the U.S.News & World Report Honor Roll, with eight clinical specialties--digestive disorders; cancer; endocrinology; neurology and neurosurgery; heart and heart surgery; kidney disease; geriatrics; and ear, nose and throat--ranked among the top 30 programs nationwide. The Medical Center was awarded Magnet status in 2007, the highest level of recognition for nursing care.

About Together for Kids
Together for Kids (www.togetherforkids.org) is a national alliance of children's hospitals and other hospitals serving children, dedicated to building a healthier future for America's kids. The organization provides an urgently needed national fundraising mechanism for its member hospitals, helping them care for seriously ill children and tackle the toughest health issues facing all kids. The organization was established in 2007 and consists of 53 hospitals in 47 U.S. cities.

The University of Chicago Medicine
Communications
950 E. 61st Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 702-0025 Fax (773) 702-3171