Helping get SWFL children home for the holidays

By Armando Llechu, chief administrative officer of Golisano Children’s Services at Lee Health

We all want to be home for the holidays. It’s especially important to children who have been in the hospital. In fact, going home for the holidays is their greatest wish.

Golisano Children’s Hospital provides life-saving care to kids in need. And when kids can’t be home, Golisano keeps them close to home and together with their families.

Your gift will help make their wishes come true by making them feel more at home in the hospital, or returning to home, healthy for the holidays.

You can ensure no child has to leave their community for the care they need. The 134-bed hospital treats more than 37,000 young patients per year. And those numbers are only expected to rise.

When it comes to supporting lifesaving pediatric health care, a gift to Golisano Children’s Hospital is the best way to make an impact. Donations are dedicated to advancing innovative programs, technologies and services.

Located in Fort Myers and serving a 5-County region, the children’s hospital also provides pediatric specialty care at satellite clinics in Port Charlotte and Naples. Through innovative programs, Golisano Children’s Hospital is also integrating lifesaving health care into local schools and homes. The vision is to bring health care closer to every child in Southwest Florida.

The impact of donations to the hospital and its programs can be seen, one patient at a time, as they get well and go home. Meet five of thousands of children and families who are together at home for the holidays this year because of treatment at Golisano’s Children’s Hospital:

Helping get SWFL children home for the holidays
Mother Adela Salinas and Sarai Hernandez-Salinas are going home for the holidays.

Last Thanksgiving, Sarai Hernandez Salinas woke up with a stomach ache and after surgery was diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma. She received treatment five days a week, which meant she missed holiday parties and the rest of kindergarten.

The team at Golisano Children’s Hospital not only focused on getting her well but also made her visits fun and educational. Now Sarai is home and excited to be back in school.


Helping get SWFL children home for the holidays
Kadin Willams feeling at home at Golisano Children’s Hospital

Kadin Williams was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had surgery the next day to remove his kidney and a tumor that was the size of a cantaloupe and weighed 2 pounds. He required intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy for six months. Now Kadin has finished treatment and will celebrate the holidays with his sister.


Sara and Jason Jones with son Finnegan are home for the holidays.

Much anticipated Finnegan was born 11 weeks early at Golisano Children’s Hospital weighing just 3 pounds, 1 ounce. His father, Jason Jones, aka “Big Mama” on B103.9FM’s morning show, and mother, Sara, went through fertility treatments and were finally able to conceive through IVF.

Finn spent 72 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Sara celebrated her first Mother’s Day at the hospital where she and Jason kept vigil. Now Finn is thriving and is home with his family.


Mother Marie and Kennedy Heisler look forward to celebrating holidays at home

Kennedy’s mother, Marie Heisler, had preeclampsia. As a result, Kennedy was born nine weeks early at Golisano Children’s Hospital, weighing 2 pounds, 15 ounces. She spent six weeks in the hospital before going home, weighing 4 pounds, 11 ounces. Now she’s caught up with her peers on growth charts.


Mark Kates and his daughter Summer will spend the holidays at home, with Summer likely baking cookies to raise money for the hospital.

On Jan. 1, 2015, at the age of 10, Summer Kates was hit by a car while playing with friends. The Golisano Children’s Hospital team did their best to keep a smile on her face while she recovered. In thanks, she sold cookies she baked to raise money. She now has a nonprofit called Summers Project and has raised thousands of dollars to support programs at the hospital that helped her.

Everything we do is dedicated to saving children’s lives. … Everything you give enables this meaningful work. Make your holiday gift at

Photo credit: Caronchi Photography


Armando Llechu is chief administrative officer of Golisano Children’s Services at Lee Health. Golisano Children’s Hospital is the only full-service hospital between Tampa and Miami.

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