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A Hospital with Hope

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Since 1855, a building located on 34th and Civic Street in the city of Philadelphia has touched lives, hearts, and families. Being the first hospital to be designated exclusively for pediatric purposes, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has committed itself to finding and curing overlooked pediatric diseases. The Joseph Stokes Jr. Research Institute within the hospital is one of the largest pediatric research programs in the nation. Cures for illnesses and diseases such as the flu, mumps, and whooping cough were discovered and developed at the hospital. The research institute is currently heading the development of new techniques to treat children with HIV/AIDS virus.

The hospital has been touching lives across the nation for 153 years and, as of last year, has touched the lives of a GACS family. In 2006, mainly the first semester of his junior year, Alan Blinder began to experience serious health problems. Alan began to have seizures during class, prohibiting him from going about daily life as a normal teenager. He was admitted to a hospital here in Atlanta and waited many months to receive any kind of answers. After doctors began to get frustrated due to the lack of progress and Alan with the lack of communication between doctors, he was eventually referred to the Diagnostics Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Shortly after being admitted to the hospital, he met Dr. Rebecca Ichord, his soon-to-become mentor and, more importantly, his lifesaver. Dr. Ichord founded and directs the Pediatric Stroke Program at ChoP and has dedicated her research towards the cause. Soon enough, Dr. Ichord’s conclusion about Pediatric Stroke Syndrome proved correct in Alan’s case and, after April of 2007, has been quite healthy.

After Alan’s experience at the hospital, he felt moved to give back to the program that had saved his life. Alan and a number of other students including Allie Blinder, Sara Collins, Katie Sykes, Deniz Beyhan, Andrew Caudill, Robert Parker and a number of other student volunteers worked diligently planning a benefit luncheon to raise money for the Pediatric Stroke Program at the hospital. Dr. Ichord visited the GACS campus on January 22, 2007 to make a presentation in chapel, attend the benefit luncheon, and to speak to students interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Almost 200 students attended the “Frontera” sponsored lunch to help the hospital that saved a dearly loved classmate’s life. While some students wondered why we were not simply raising money for the children’s hospital in Atlanta, Alan notes, ‘It’s a trickle effect….CHoP has this research base…the research they do, it funnels down to leading hospitals like Children’s Hospital of Atlanta to Valdosta General Hospital.”

“A Celebration of Hope,” the luncheon proved a success for Alan and all that supported his efforts in raising money for the research of Pediatric Stroke Syndrome. Dr. Ichord notes that the benefit on the GACS campus was the first ever to raise money specifically for her program. Because of his experience at CHoP, Alan has aspirations to become a neurologist and follow in Dr. Ichord’s footsteps at the children’s hospital. His goal right now is simply to be raising awareness about Pediatric Stroke Syndrome and, for starters, worked with Congress to designate the first Saturday in May as National Pediatric Stroke Awareness Day. Awareness is growing across the nation and soon Pediatric Stroke Syndrome will no longer be a mystery to many Americans. Dr. Ichord concludes, “I just want to thank Alan and all of your colleagues for inviting me down. This has been a tremendous learning experience for me and really a new source of hope to see a younger generation so full of interest and commitment to the well-being of their friend but also how that spills over into learning and growing awareness…It’s great to see.”





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