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The Stradtners, Giving From the Heart

June 7, 2018
Motivation for philanthropy comes in many shapes and forms, but for Jim and Jackie Stradtner, giving is personal.

A close relationship with GBMC neonatologist and Vice Chief of Staff, Maria Pane, MD, as well as personal experiences with neonatal intensive care units, the Stradtners wanted to make a commitment to renovating GBMC's. The $2.4 million project will provide best-in-class care for our tiniest patients alongside a best-in-class experience for parents and families during a strenuous and frightening time for them.

Jackie Stradtner knows firsthand. Her first two daughters were born early when GBMC was still a wide-open expanse of land.

"Karen was born about five weeks early," Jackie said. "She was due the end of January and came December 17, which at that time was very premature. Our second daughter was due the end of January and she came November 8, so she was really tiny. She was in the hospital until the second week of December – five weeks, Karen was about three weeks. They kept the babies until they weighed five pounds. They didn’t have NICU units like they have today with the equipment and all the things they know today."

New, large, single, family-friendly rooms with reclining chairs, so Mom and Dad can stay after hours, accompanied by state-of-the-art equipment and a relocation to GBMC’s main level offer a more private environment. The redesign also allows clinicians to focus on each infant's individual needs while facilitating communication, bonding and integration of the family. GBMC's goal is to provide an enriched environment for the infant and family to complement the leading-edge care already being provided to these highly vulnerable patients. GBMC is grateful donors like the Stradtners get it.

"If you have premature babies – or a baby that has any sort of health issue – you want them to have the very best care and I'm just happy GBMC delivers so many babies," Jackie said. "I think if you're delivering that many babies, you have a higher percentage of having preemies and kids who need extra care. So, it's a good place to put money if you want children to be happy and healthy. And it's scary for parents. It's such a frightening thing."

Each year, almost 3,800 new lives begin at GBMC. Close to 10 percent of these new babies enter the world too small, sick or arrive too soon. Parents are encouraged to hold their infants as much as possible, breastfeed and be actively involved in the care plan. That can be done most effectively in a space that offers individualized and personalized care for each tiny patient.

This isn't the first time the Stradtners recognized the potential in an otherwise innocuous space. In 2014, when GBMC was building out its first patient-centered medical home in Family Care Associates, Jim and Jackie recognized how the newly-designed space would better serve patients and pledged to help underwrite construction.

"They had the space and it just needed to be renovated," Jackie said. "They already had great doctors and it was an easy thing to do. Both of our doctors are there. They see a lot of people. We're very happy.

"We love GBMC and the wonderful care they give to all their patients."

If you would like to be a part of the NICU renovation project, please contact Director of Philanthropic Engagement, Kate Thorne, at kthorne@gbmc.org.
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