Our Donors: Keith’s Superstores fuels Children’s campaign with every gallon sold
Published on Friday, April 19, 2019
By: Annie Oeth, email@example.com
HATTIESBURG – The Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the philanthropic effort raising funds for the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s pediatric expansion, is being revved up with a donation from Keith’s Superstores.
The Hattiesburg-based company donated a percentage from every gallon of gasoline sold at its 42 Keith’s Superstores during November. In December 2018, at the new Pep’s Point Keith’s Superstore, Melissa Saucier, sales and marketing director, presented UMMC officials with the $31,000 raised.
According to Saucier, the company plans to contribute to the campaign for the next five years, with a goal of raising $125,000 for the expansion.
“Our pledge will go toward the funding of a five-suite wing for babies and their families to have a place to stay together while under neonatal intensive care,” Saucier said.
Keith’s Superstores’ generosity is making a big difference in pediatric care, said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi, the umbrella organization at UMMC that includes Batson Children’s and pediatric clinics in Hattiesburg and across the state. “Through their gift, their customers can play a significant role in helping the state’s only children’s hospital expand.”
The $180 million expansion adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital will include 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, additional space for private pediatric intensive care rooms and surgical suites, an imaging center for children and an outpatient specialty clinic. The Children’s Heart Center will also call the seven-story tower home.
Construction of the expansion has been taking place since the start of 2018, and its structural phase will continue through August. Work will then focus on the tower’s interior. The hospital tower is scheduled to open in fall 2020.
Bailey Sanderford of Hattiesburg, 16, will see her pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Makram Ebeid, in the new tower. The Presbyterian Christian School sophomore has been Ebeid’s patient since she was two weeks old, said her father, Lance Sanderford.
“Dr. Ebeid calls her his miracle angel,” Lance Sanderford said, “and he’s right.”
When Bailey was a newborn, Lance Sanderford and wife, Gwen, had become concerned about one of her tear ducts. A doctor listened to the newborn’s heartbeat and sent the family to Batson Children’s Hospital.
“They told my parents to get there as quickly as possible,” Bailey said.
Born with a congenital heart defect, Bailey has had 15 heart catheterizations and four heart surgeries. Lance Sanderford said a fifth surgery is anticipated in the next year or so.
Two of Bailey’s surgeries took place at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, with a third at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her fourth surgery was at Batson Children’s Hospital, where her future surgery also will take place.
“Bailey is truly an angel,” Lance Sanderford said. “She’s a gift God gave us. We’re just the caretakers.”
As for the future, Bailey said she has high hopes.
“I’d like to become a cardiologist,” she said.