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Kosair looks to strengthen bond with county

Kosair looks to strengthen bond with county
Kosair looks to strengthen bond with county
Aiden Johnson uses a mini iPad while his mother, Gena, in the background talks to a group June 17 at Harrison County Hospital about her son's experience at Kosair Children's Hospital. The program was hosted Brian LaHue, a financial adviser with First Harrison Financial Services, as part of an upcoming collaboration with the Harrison County Community Foundation. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

For a number of years, Harrison Countians and Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville have had a relationship.
That bond is quite evident when one looks at North Harrison Elementary School’s monetary donations to the facility through a fundraiser called Kids Helping Kids. The school, with assistance from the community, has donated nearly $300,000 to the initiative that began in 1989.
There’s also smaller efforts underway locally, such as Mekinley Elrod’s toy drive carnival that took place Saturday at the Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon.
Mekinley, who just completed fifth grade at Corydon Intermediate School, bills her efforts as Kinley’s Helping Hands. She gives back to the medical facility that has been a part of her life when, as an infant, she was diagnosed with panhypopituarism, which means she was born without a pituitary gland in her brain.
Now, Brian LaHue, a financial adviser with First Harrison Financial Services (an affiliate of First Harrison Bank) and the Harrison County Community Foundation are looking at a collaboration to strengthen the relationship even more.
According to information presented last Wednesday during a private program, hosted by LaHue at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon, Kosair serves 1,530 Harrison County patients annually at its Louisville facility. That is considerably more than surrounding counties; Washington County sends 879 patients there, while 275 from Crawford County are sent there and 206 from Orange County receive services. (Statistics from other counties were not provided.) A total of 170,000 children, from 35 Southern Indiana counties and all 120 Kentucky counties, receive comprehensive health care services each year from Kosair.
Kosair Children’s Hospital began in 1892 as the Children’s Free Hospital following the most destructive tornado in Kentucky in 1890 that killed 100 people in less than two minutes and destroyed 532 houses, stores, factories, warehouses, churches, schools, public halls and a railway station.
There were no children’s hospitals at that time. But that changed when Mary Lafon and her sewing group raised $6,000 for the purpose of opening one.
The initial facility had 24 beds. Its first patient was a young boy who had tuberculosis and was in need of surgery prior to the development and approval of anesthesia. The boy, known as Little Radford, was given a shot of whiskey and was held down while his infected leg bone was cut from his body. For six months, he was bed-ridden at the hospital, where he lived for two years.
Today, Kosair Children’s Hospital, a part of the Norton Healthcare system, which HCH is affiliated with, is the 16th largest children’s hospital in the nation and is a Level 1 pediatric trauma center. The downtown facility, just one of four Kosair pediatric sites, has 105 beds.
Gena Johnson of Sellersburg was at the program with her son, Aiden, who has been a patient at Kosair more than once since birth. Aiden, now 11, is a two-time cancer survivor.
Johnson said the most recent time, when her son was diagnosed with a high-risk acute form of leukemia, they were met by a medical team who had a plan in place by the time Aiden was rushed into the emergency room.
Johnson said she was grateful for the nearby facility which allowed her family to remain in their home community while her son received treatments. The doctors, she said, are wonderful, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.
Aiden, who played with Legos to take his mind off his treatments, later started Aiden’s Lego Legacy as a way to give back to the facility to help other children.
Kim Harmon, director of development with the Harrison County Community Foundation, and Steve Gilliland, the Foundation’s president and CEO, talked about endowment funds through the HCCF, which will serve the community now and in the future.
The HCCF has had a matching program since 2001, which allows a donor to make an even greater investment, they said.
To speak with Harmon about an endowment, call 812-738-6668 or send an email to [email protected]
Adam Fields, director of major gifts for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, is available to work with Harrison Countians who are interested in financially assisting Kosair. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling 1-502-629-8859.
To speak with LaHue about financial services, call 812-734-3473.

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