BRAWLEY - Pioneer Memorial Healthcare District pediatric staff and the PMH Foundation gathered together Tuesday morning, October 9 to rededicate the Pediatric Ward after an extensive remodel that includes updated new equipment.

Bill Gates of the Foundation began the dedication showing a timeline of how the project developed. Ryan Kelley, an employee of PMH, said he spoke with the pediatric staff and Larry Lewis, the hospital's CEO, to figure out what the children’s ward needed in next generation medical equipment for a facelift.

With list in hand, Kelley approached the Foundation in the spring of 2017 explaining the need to renovate the unit. The cost was estimated to be around $85,000, according to Gates.

“We said we would do it,” Gates told the room.

In addition to the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment, a decorating committee was formed with Deb Smerdon of DS Arts in Brawley leading the charge. Karen Smith of the Foundation also helped with decorating ideas. New floors were installed, walls painted, and colorful, whimsical characters were painted on the walls.

Kelley approached the Foundation again in the spring of 2018 with extra needs for the Pediatric unit. New cribs were needed, according to Kelley, and six chairs for mothers to hold their children in while they stayed at the hospital together. The extra $20,000 came from Brawley residents Carol and Bob Wilson, John Elmore, Brawley Union High School artwork sales, and a successful fundraiser called Old Cars and Guitars. 

“All together, the Foundation donated $105,000, 100 percent of the project,” Gates said.

One of the nurses remarked that Pediatric Unit was now a happy place for children, even if they come in sick and worried. One of the purchases included electronic game boxes for the kids so they could find ways to occupy their minds than just being in the hospital and away from home.

Dr. Ameen Alshareef, director of the PMH Pediatrics, thanked the Foundation and the staff for working through the dust, mess, and noise, and still taking great care of their patients.

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