|Local Businessman Bill Edwards Makes Multi-Million Dollar Gift to Fund Entertainment for Patients|
|Patients at All Children's Hospital will enjoy the healing benefits of music and expanded entertainment options, thanks to the generosity of a St. Petersburg entrepreneur and music executive.
Bill Edwards, founder of Bill Edwards Presents, Inc., Big 3 Entertainment and Chairman/CEO of Mortgage Investors Corporation, is donating $2.5-million to All Children's Hospital. The funds will be used to endow the hospital's Music Therapy program, and to expand programming and access to the GetWellNetwork patient education & information system.
"We all owe a responsibility to our community to help our children stay healthy and happy," said Edwards. "After all, our children are the future."
"This most generous gift will enhance the healing process for the children we serve," said Gary Carnes, President & CEO of All Children's Health System. "We know that providing the best care for children involves more than expert staff and first-class technology. That's why we've created a family-centered environment for patient care in our new hospital. This gift will ensure our ability to provide therapies and information that will help kids and their families cope with and understand their medical issues."
"The contributions of Music Therapy in the health care environment are priceless for patients, family members, and even staff," notes Child Life Director Luci Weber, whose department includes the hospital's Music Therapy program. "Music allows for self-expression. It creates a safe, common basis for communication. It relaxes and soothes, it distracts from fear and pain and brings people together. These things are all very important to children and their families who are struggling through the daily fears and uncertainty of chronic illness. A gift of this magnitude supports the ongoing continuation of these services to our patients and provides the financial stability to also allow for the reestablishment of the Music Therapy student internship program as well. Thanks to Bill Edwards, this wonderful gift will help reduce pain, lend a voice to unspoken fears, motivate to get through tough times, and allow children to be children."
"Using the bedside TV as a vehicle to engage patients in their health care is a smart approach," notes David Gardner, Director of All Children's eHealth Department that oversees GetWell Town. "We know kids turn on the TV as soon as they're in their rooms. GetWell Town's unique, kid-friendly design really takes into account how today's kids learn and absorb information. Its interactivity gets patients and their families actively engaged in their own care and recovery. Thanks to its intuitive, computer game-like design, our patients were able to quickly learn the system and make the most of it. Kids and parents love it so much that they want more - more games, more movies for teens, and more TV channels such as ESPN. Thanks to Bill Edwards' generous gift, we'll be able to provide this additional content and expand the system into other locations, including our Emergency Center."
Edwards has been a stalwart supporter of children's causes as the title sponsor in both 2009 & 2010 for A Taste of Pinellas, the annual food & music festival benefiting the All Children's Hospital Telethon. This year, Bill Edwards Presents, Inc. will be coordinating all entertainment for the Taste. A line-up of national and local acts will take the stage at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park on June 4-6.
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