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February 19, 2007

Detroit Tiger Brandon Inge, wife give $100,000 gift to U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

Inges’ gift to create activity area in pediatric cancer infusion clinic in new $523 million children’s, women’s hospital facility

ANN ARBOR, MI – Detroit Tiger third baseman Brandon Inge is an American League champion. During the 2006 season, he hit career highs with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs.

Brandon Inge with Mott PatientBut even with all of his incredible infield plays and the unforgettable playoff run last season, Inge says there’s nothing on the baseball field that can compare to walking into a patient room at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and seeing a child smile.

That’s one of the many reasons why Brandon Inge and his wife, Shani, feel it’s so important to give back to Mott – to help patients and families in need. To bring even more smiles into the lives of these children, the Inges are giving a $100,000 gift to Mott to create an activity area in the pediatric cancer infusion clinic in the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital, set to open in 2011.

“As excited as I am about the season starting, I’m equally excited about this gift and what it will mean to the kids at Mott,” says Brandon Inge. “Our hope is that this play area will be associated with joy, and that it will give the kids and their families a break from what they’re going through. It’s one of the reasons why we feel giving back to our community is so important.”

Continues Shani Inge: “We’ve made a genuine connection with so many of the patients and families, and we’re always amazed at how they’re able to keep their spirits up. They truly lift our spirits and bring us a particular joy. That’s why this gift isn’t just a one-time thing for us – this gets the ball rolling so we can make sure these families have everything they need at Mott.”

To make the new pediatric infusion clinic’s activity area even more special for the patients, the Inges, who have a 2-year-old son and are expecting a second child in August, plan to host a special contest to allow the patients at Mott and the community to name the activity area in the new hospital. Regardless of its name, the activity area will undoubtedly create a warm and fun environment for patients and their families to receive care, says Patricia A. Warner, MPH, associate hospital director for Children's and Women's Services.

“This activity area will be a very special addition to our new children’s and women’s building project,” says Warner. “Beyond this wonderful gift, Brandon and Shani have generously donated a considerable amount of their time over the years to not only lift the spirits of our patients, but also to help us raise funds for our programs and our new children’s hospital. We are very fortunate to have them on our team.”

Brandon Inge with  Mott PatientsSince 2003, Brandon and Shani Inge, along with the Detroit Tigers Wives Association, have focused their efforts on helping families and patients at Mott. After learning about the services and care provided at Mott, Shani Inge, who previously worked at U-M, felt it was important to take a more active role in supporting the hospital. And, Shani Inge says, it only took one visit with some young patients in Mott to convince her husband that they could really make a difference in the lives of these children.

“When Brandon made his first visit to Mott, the kids tore at his heartstrings,” says Shani Inge, his wife of seven years. “He has such a big heart, and every time he visits he makes personal connections with families. We really feel like these people have become an extension of our own family.”

During the past four years, Brandon and Shani Inge have donated countless hours to helping the patients and families at Mott. From visiting inpatients to hosting special fund-raising events for Mott, the Inges have played an important role in the success of the children’s hospital and women’s hospital fund-raising campaign, which, to-date has raised more than $50 million.

Most recently, Brandon and Shani Inge, along with past and present Detroit Tigers players and U-M sports stars, took part in the Base-Bowl with Champions event in January. That event alone raised more than $18,000 for Mott and the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Additionally, the Detroit Tigers Wives Association in 2003 hosted a community picnic in Ann Arbor where the team raised $15,000 for the Child and Family Life Program at Mott. Plus, the Detroit Tigers’ annual Children’s Health Night at Comerica Park has helped Mott to raise thousands.

“Giving back to the community is so important,” Brandon Inge says. “Playing baseball, I’m in a situation where I feel responsible to be a role model to these kids and to give something back to them.”

Both Brandon and Shani Inge hope their most recent gift will offer patients and their families a place to escape the rigors of medical care, and just have some fun.
Many pediatric infusion patients, along with their siblings and other family members, spend long hours several days a week in the pediatric infusion clinic receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer and other medical challenges. The current pediatric infusion clinic activity area, located in the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, provides a host of fun and educational activities to dozens of patients and their siblings each day.

Under the guidance of the Child & Family Life Department, patients and family members can take part in craft projects like painting and scrapbooking, engage in computer games, and even celebrate birthdays and other special events in their lives. Child Life activity specialists make medicine educational for pediatric patients, too, through specialized play and coping interventions that help young patients understand tests, procedures and surgeries using age-appropriate language.

While the Inge family’s gift will provide a larger home for these activities in the new children’s hospital, the new activity area will most importantly give patients and their siblings something uplifting to look forward to during each visit, says Sheila Morris, a child life specialist at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Having an activity area available to our patients and their families is key to the medical process. Activity centers provide our patients and their families with a sense of comfort, normalcy and trust in an environment that can be very frightening for children, making the entire experience a more positive one,” says Morris.

About the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital
The U-M Health System officially broke ground in October 2006 for the new $523 million C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital facility.

With 1.1 million square feet, the facility will provide a new and larger home for specialty services not offered anywhere else in Michigan for newborns, children and pregnant women, such as the pediatric liver transplant program, the Level I Pediatric Trauma Program, the Pediatric and Adolescent Home Ventilator Program, the Craniofacial Anomalies Program, high-risk pregnancy services and specialty gynecological services. 

Once the facility is complete, the pediatric infusion clinic now located in the U-M Cancer Center will relocate to the new hospital. There also will be a committed area for both adult and pediatric bone marrow transplant patients and pediatric non-cancer infusion, too, with a dedicated infusion pharmacy on the floor. Currently, the U-M Cancer Center is projected for 2007 to have 7,922 pediatric clinic visits, and 4,426 pediatric infusion visits.

Additionally, plans for the new children’s and women’s facility include 16 pediatric operating rooms, four pediatric surgical procedure rooms, four Caesarean section suites, 20 rooms for antepartum or postpartum care, and 264 private inpatient beds upon opening with capacity for an additional 84 beds in the future.

To date, the U-M Health System has raised more than $50 million of the $75 million goal for its children’s and women’s fund-raising campaign, part of the University-wide $2.5 billion The Michigan Difference campaign.

To learn more about the children’s and women’s fund-raising campaign and building project, visit www.mottchildrenshospital.org.

Written by Krista Hopson

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