Adventist-owned Florida Hospital Gets
$10 Million Disney Donation
BY Mark A. Kellner, Adventist Review news editor
hildren from central Florida—and from around the world—will be the beneficiaries of a $10 million donation from $10 million contribution from Walt Disney World and Disney Worldwide Outreach. The gift, announced September 19, will help expand and renovate Florida Children’s Hospital, which now will also bear the Disney name, a first according to Disney officials. The official name of the hospital will be announced at a later date.
The hospital is a unit of Adventist Health Care, which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church
“We are privileged to accept this gift from The Walt Disney Company,” said Des Cummings, president of the Florida Hospital Foundation. “Combining Disney’s imagination and creativity with the healing hands of Florida Children’s Hospital physicians and other healthcare personnel will truly make this a very special place for our patients and their families.”
HAPPY EVENT: With Mickey and Minnie Mouse in attendance, Seventh-day Adventist-owned Florida Children’s Hospital and Disney celebrate the announcement of a $10 million gift from Disney. In recognition of that gift, the expanded Florida Children’s Hospital will be the first hospital to bear the Disney name. Shown from from left to right are: Lars Houmann, president of Florida Hospital; Al Weiss, president of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Sheldon Rosario (father); Mickey Mouse; Sheldon Rosario (son); Minnie Mouse; Krystle Rosario (mother); Marla Silliman, Florida Children’s Hospital administrator; Terry Newmyer, Chief Development Officer at Florida Hospital; Des Cummings, President of the Florida Hospital Foundation. [Photo: Florida Hospital]
Cummings, in an interview with Adventist Review, said the entertainment giant has a specific purpose for this donation: “There’s a commitment on the part of Disney to define the future of children’s health,” he said, explaining that the epidemic of lifestyle-based illness seen in the United States is pushing farther down the age scale to affect children.
“This is the first generation where we see that life expectancy is going to decline,” he said, unless these trends are reversed. Part of the goal for the enhanced Florida Children’s Hospital will be to help change the culture towards one of prevention, Cummings added, moving “from a ‘disease culture’ to a ‘health culture.’”
He pointed out that the company’s Orlando-based Walt Disney World has rearranged menus at the park’s restaurants to emphasize healthier choices—less-healthy items can still be found, but at the bottom of the menu. Vegetarian items have been added and are being promoted.
“Disney understands that Adventists are the healthiest people in the world,” Cummings said, in explaining the firm’s willingness to partner with Florida Hospital.
Disney’s contribution stands as one of the largest in the hospital’s history, officials said.
“This partnership with Disney is blending our two areas of expertise: the healing hands of Florida Children’s Hospital and the imagination and creativity of Disney,” said Marla Silliman, administrator of Florida Children’s Hospital. “By bringing them together, we are creating an environment in which even the sickest children can experience joy and happiness while they are in the hospital.”
Florida Children’s Hospital is a 155-bed, full-service specialty facility served by nearly 60 “Kids’ Docs,” the largest panel of pediatric specialists in Orlando, and a highly trained pediatric team of more than 600 employees. The dedicated children’s hospital delivers a complete range of pediatric health services to younger patients, who also benefit from the expertise of specialized departments throughout Florida Hospital.
When construction is complete in 2010, officials said, Florida Children’s Hospital will have 200 beds, including private, family-centered pediatric rooms; a dedicated pediatric Emergency Department; an Advanced Center for Pediatric Surgery; destination pediatric programs including advanced surgery, oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology, transplant services, and full-service pediatrics; and an innovative Health and Obesity platform.
“Florida Children’s Hospital has been caring for the children of Central Florida for almost 100 years,” said Lars Houmann, president of Florida Hospital, which runs Florida Children’s Hospital. “A few miles from here, Disney has been equally passionate about making dreams come true for children here at home and around the world. Together, we are building a children’s hospital that we hope will establish a new model of healthcare throughout our community and beyond.”
Disney officials were enthusiastic about the relationship with Florida Children’s Hospital.
“This contribution is part of our ongoing commitment to making dreams come true for the children of central Florida,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “Even during uncertain times, children want and need to play, to exercise their imaginations, and to dream. At Disney, we thrive on that kind of imaginative energy, and we hope to bring some of that same spirit to this special place that will provide care for the children of our community.”
“For more than two decades, we have worked with Florida Hospital on a number of projects that have benefited central Florida residents, Disney cast members [employees] and guests from around the world,” added Al Weiss, president of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Now, he said, “we’re honoring the expansion of our partnership and the promise of healing and hope it brings to the families Florida Children’s Hospital will serve.”
—with additional reporting from Florida Hospital.