That’s how we at Nicklaus Children’s navigated the remarkable and unpredictable year that was 2020. Together, our doctors, clinical and support staff rallied to meet the needs of the children and families of our community amid a growing COVID-19 pandemic. And together with other organizations in the region, we found a shared path forward to ensure that we collectively met the healthcare needs of the families of the region and beyond.
The biggest takeaway from 2020: We are stronger together.
Brandon's COVID-19 Journey
When 16-year-old Brandon developed a fever and began vomiting – worrying symptoms in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – his mother took him to a nearby emergency room for assessment. Brandon, who has hypothyroidism, autism and mild epilepsy, tested positive for COVID-19 and was referred to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for treatment. Brandon’s case was severe, leading to complications with his organs and loss of oxygen. He was eventually placed on a ventilator for 20 days, before making his recovery.
“I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses and the entire team that helped care for Brandon and myself during our stay at Nicklaus Children’s. They were all very attentive and truly cared about our family. We are blessed to have such an amazing hospital right here in Miami,” said Brandon’s mother, Mariela.The group of young, passionate South Florida professionals who comprise Nicklaus Children’s Young Ambassadors (NCYA) had a banner year in 2019, raising $271,275 for the hospital.
Amazing Community Support Helps Nicklaus Children’s During the Pandemic
The caring spirit and generosity of the South Florida community shone bright in 2020 with more than $1 million raised toward the Nicklaus Children’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to support the hospital’s greatest needs. Included were contributions from City National Bank of Florida, the Miami Dolphins, and the “Wear the Bear, Show You Care” initiative sponsored by the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus’s family foundation. Another nearly 200 community supporters donated items, from hundreds of meals for healthcare workers to thousands of facemasks from partners including City Furniture, Miami City Ballet, Panda Cares Foundation and Speedway.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our loyal and generous South Florida community,” said Michelle Boggs, President of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation. “These contributions encouraged us and allowed us to focus on patient care for kids whose illnesses don’t stop during a pandemic.
14th Annual Diamond Ball Fundraiser
The Diamond Ball gala, in its 14th year, was adapted to an online format in December 2020 to ensure everyone’s health and safety during the pandemic. The virtual event, organized by the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation, raised more than $800,000 to benefit the Nicklaus Children’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Virtual Diamond Ball, An Auction Benefiting Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was presented by City National Bank of Florida.
The event included a live auction of one-of-a-kind experiences, patient success stories, a tribute to frontline healthcare heroes, and a two-week pre-event silent auction of more than 100 items. Special thanks to our major Diamond Ball sponsors, City National Bank of Florida, Ensemble Health Partner, Mario Murgado & Murgado Automotive Group, Greenberg Traurig, Navarro Discount Pharmacy / CVS Pharmacy y más, MBF Healthcare Partners and Perry Ellis International.
Transformational Gifts to Benefit the Hospital
The future of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is brighter because of the generosity of major supporters whose gifts will play a significant role in enhancing the delivery of amazing patient care. Special thanks to these individuals and organizations for helping us create a healthy future for every child.
- $8 million from Sanford Health to benefit ongoing genomics projects and research
- $1.4 million from The Honda Classic, in partnership with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, to benefit pediatric services in Palm Beach County and free dental care provided by the Mobile Dental Van for underserved kids
- $1 million from the Miami Dolphins to support the care of children with diabetes and sickle cell disease, as well as research related to COVID-19 • $1 million from Michelle Hagerty for the hospital’s greatest needs
- $1 million from Frank Scaduto for the neonatal intensive care unit
Helping Employees Weather the Pandemic
Providing support and assistance to employees is always a top priority at Nicklaus Children’s and the 2020 pandemic year brought new opportunities to show our commitment to those who put patients and families first.
“Our employees provide amazing patient care and support our health system in meeting the needs of those we serve in countless ways. It was a privilege to work with this dedicated and selfless team throughout the pandemic and to innovate new ways to show our appreciation in a distanced environment,” said Kara Marante, Vice President and Chief People Officer.
Highlights of the year included:
- Coordinating a large food drive and distribution to share donated grocery staples with employees, some of whose families were impacted due to community-wide layoffs and furloughs. The food drive was supported by past employee donations to igive, the employee giving campaign.
- Offering mental health and wellness resources in modified forums
- Distributing generous community donations to frontline employees, including facemasks and self-care items
- A month-long September2Remember employee event celebrating the hospital’s 70th anniversary, including a distanced ice cream social and contests
- Show Us Your HeArt, an initiative that encouraged patients and staff to express their appreciation for one another through art
Virtual Hospital Tour with Maja
Join tour guide and patient, 11-year-old Maja, as she takes
you on an exciting adventure through Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Our Patient Stories
Corrective surgery inspires hope for Ashley
Ashley was diagnosed with a rare condition requiring complex surgeries to correct and, if successful, may be followed by a lifetime of medication. After years spent searching for help, Ashley and her family found Rafael Gosalbez, MD, Director of the Division of Urologic Surgery and Alejandro Diaz, MD, Director of the Division of Endocrinology,
Early detection saved Michael's life
Michael C. was a very active athlete whose life changed last year when he was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form a leukemia. Michael credits the support of his family and friends for getting him through the physical and mental health fight of his life.
Airlifted to Nicklaus Children's, Bradley's path to health
Bradley was transferred via LifeFlight ambulance to Nicklaus Children's Hospital shortly after birth, Bradley was placed on medication to help control his overproduction of insulin. After tests showed he suffered from diffused white matter damage, aggressive intervention was required.