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Children's Hospital Atrium named in
honor of Tom, Robin Edwards
birth of her healthy grandchildren led a Myrtle Beach resident to
support research of childhood diseases at MUSC's Children's Hospital
and Darby Children's Research Institute (DCRI).
along with grandchildren Allen Edwards, Temperance Russell, Foster
Russell, Miranda Russell and Grainger Lee Russell, unveil the painting
of Thomas and Robin Edwards Jan. 11.
Robin Edwards made a $3 million gift to MUSC providing a huge boost to
researchers working to develop new treatments and cures for childhood
Edwards said she had three reasons for making her gift. Those reasons
did not include her, and husband Tom’s, positive patient experiences at
MUSC. Nor was it because of the couple’s long-standing friendship with
MUSC President Emeritus James B. Edwards and wife, Ann.
“It was the triplets,” she said without hesitation.
Ten years ago, her daughter developed a complicated pregnancy while
carrying her triplets. “Nobody here at home would even touch triplets
at the time, so we took her to MUSC,” Edwards recalled. “Of course, we
were very worried, but those three children arrived in perfect
condition and their mother came through it just fine, as well.
Grandmama was a mess, but everyone else was great. It was one of the
happiest days of my life.”
Motivated mainly by that positive experience, the Edwards' began
discussing ways to help the Children’s Hospital and help create similar
positive situations for other families. Unfortun-ately, her husband
passed away before their vision could be realized together, and she
never forgot the firm sense of commitment they both felt upon the birth
of their healthy grandchildren.
“We talked about it a good bit before he died,” she said. “We felt that
when you help doctors and others in health care, you’re helping people
from all walks of life. We saw eye-to-eye on that. It was a very easy
decision for us.”
Celebrating in the
Edwards' gift are from left Dr. Ray Greenberg; Phillip L. Edwards,
brother to Tom Edwards; Dr. James B. Edwards; Dr. Charles Darby,
executive director of the center for childhood advocacy; Robin Edwards;
Dr. L. Lyndon Key; and Tommy Baker, chairman of the Children’s Hospital
Edwards’ gift will be used to create a new endowed chair in pediatric
nephrology at DCRI. The chair will enable the university to attract and
support a world-renowned pediatric nephrologist to explore new
treatments and, ultimately, a cure for chronic kidney disease. Kidney
disease currently affects an estimated 460,000 South Carolinians.
Her gift also will create a separate research endowment to help
fledgling research projects get off the ground.
“Of course, many of our investigations are supported by National
Institutes of Health (NIH) grants,” said Pediatrics Chairman L. Lyndon
Key, M.D. “However, before a study can be approved for NIH funding, we
have to conduct preliminary research to prove that the study’s
scientific principles are sound and that it has the potential to
achieve meaningful breakthroughs. This new research endowment will
provide us with the seed money needed to perform these preliminary
studies, obtain NIH grants, and launch full-scale investigations.”
As endowed funds, both the chair and the research fund will exist in
perpetuity, creating a permanent means of pursuing new innovations in
the field of children’s health, said MUSC President Ray Greenberg,
“An investment in research can open an infinite number of doors in
advancing what we understand about health and disease,” said Greenberg.
“In that light, it is difficult to comprehend the dramatic and
far-reaching impact that this gift will have on children’s health in
South Carolina and beyond. We are incredibly grateful for Mrs. Edwards’
confidence and generosity.”
The sentiment was echoed by Edwards’ friend, former MUSC President Jim
“Tom was one of the finest examples of humanity I’ve ever known, and
Robin has always been very passionate about children’s health,” said
Dr. Edwards. “The three of us had talked about something like this for
many years, but I don’t think anyone, myself included, expected
anything on this scale. I’m extremely grateful for their friendship and
their generosity, and I know Tom would be so proud of Robin.”
In recognition of Mrs. Edwards’ gift, MUSC Children’s Hospital named
its Atrium in honor of her and her husband.
Filled with toys, books and games, the Atrium is a colorful,
light-filled solarium where patients and their families can relax and
play during hospitalization. The Atrium is seen by patients as a
retreat from the sometimes stressful environment associated with
Friday, Jan. 18, 2008
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