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The only way to have a friend is to be one.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
What friends are for
By Barbra Alan
Never underestimate the power of friends. Pat Goldman, a dedicated advocate for children and the elderly, moved to the Upper Valley in 1995 and reconnected with her old friend Dr. John Brooks, then medical director of the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) and chair of the Department of Pediatrics. That's when an idea was conceived: to create a volunteer group to support CHaD with fund-raising, awarenessbuilding, and advocacy.
From that idea, the Friends of CHaD was born in 1996. Over the past decade, the Friends group has grown into a powerful ally of CHaD, due in large part to the commitment and drive of its members.They hail from different towns throughout the Upper Valley and beyond; there's even a Manchester,N.H.-based Friends of CHaD-South that will celebrate its fifth anniversary later this year. Some Friends are educators, some are business leaders, some are parents of children who receive care at CHaD. But no matter where they live, or what they do, all have one thing in common: an unwavering commitment to ensuring the best, most comprehensive medical care for the children of northern New England.
Dr. John Modlin, codirector of CHaD and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, calls the work of the Friends of CHaD "a win-win situation. Not only do the Children's Hospital and its staff, patients, and families benefit, but so do the members themselves, who are so committed to the growth and enrichment of CHaD."
Since its formation, the Friends of CHaD has played an important role in raising funds for numerous projects at the Children's Hospital, including the relocation and renovation of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in 1998 and its 2003 expansion; the creation of the Family Center in 2003; and the construction of a new CHaD outpatient clinic in 2004. The Friends also support
the Child Life Program, the Pain Free Program, the Injury Prevention Program, and other efforts that exist thanks to philanthropic support. "The Friends of CHaD has really positioned CHaD to grow in ways that would not have been possible without their support," says Sharon Brown, the director of community relations for CHaD.
One key to the Friends' fund-raising success is a yearround slate of events.Two in particular, Circus Smirkus in the summer and the CHaD Ski & Ride Challenge in the winter, have become wildly popular community events. In fact, this year's Ski & Ride Challenge, which is the Friends of CHaD's signature event,was the most successful yet, raising over $100,000 for clinical care, prevention, and family support programs.
For Debbie Jaurigue, one of the Friends' newest members, raising money for CHaD is a mission close to her heart. Her daughter Madi, who was born with hydrocephalus—a congenital disorder that causes cerebrospinal fluid to build up in the brain—has been a patient at CHaD for the past two years. During Madi's stays in the PICU, the Jaurigues have experienced firsthand the fruits of the Friends' labors, most notably the Family Center and the Child Life Program.
"Fund-raising is a kind of therapy for me," Debbie Jaurigue explains."I can't help my daughter, but I can help raise funds that will benefit her and other children who come to CHaD for their care."
While the Friends are justifiably proud of their past accomplishments, the group is not resting on its laurels. There's a lot more fund-raising to be done: the Friends of CHaD has pledged $10 million to the Transforming Medicine Campaign, to advance pediatric research and enhance family-centered care programs grounded in teaching and research. It's a daunting task, but one that Sharon Brown believes the group is equal to. "In 1996, the Friends had one or two events and raised $10,000. Last year, we raised $1.4 million." The organization, she says, is clearly "energized and pumped."
To learn about ways in which you can support CHaD, visit www.dhmc.org/goto/helpchad.
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Barbra Alan is assistant director of development communications for the Medical School and Medical Center.