Children with cancer and other chronic illnesses soon will benefit from treatment in an enhanced healing environment at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital’s Lehi campus, thanks to a $5 million gift from The Kahlert Foundation.
The gift, announced during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, supports cancer and infusion center at Primary Children’s Hospital on the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus in Lehi, which is scheduled to open in early 2024.
The center will include nine spacious, child-friendly rooms for chemotherapy and other infusions, a welcoming waiting and reception area, and a large playroom, all with plenty of natural light. The center has its own beautiful, outdoor terrace area where families can enjoy fresh air during infusion therapy appointments.
“This gift will help us to create child-centered healing spaces that will reduce some of the fear children experience with cancer and other chronic illness, and help them heal and recover,” said Lisa Paletta, RN, administrator of the Primary Children’s Miller Family Campus. “We cannot thank The Kahlert Foundation enough for their generous support to help us create a welcoming, child-centered healing spaces for children with cancer and other chronic illnesses at the Miller Family Campus.”
Primary Children’s is ranked among the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for its cancer care and other exceptional pediatric specialties.
Enhancements of cancer healing spaces also are planned for the Primary Children’s Hospital Salt Lake City campus. The hospital will double the size of the cancer infusion services area, add private, child-friendly infusion rooms filled with natural light, and creating additional spaces for privacy, play, and rest.
The new healing space at the Miller Family Campus in Lehi will benefit patients like Harper Morgan.
Harper was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4 after relatives noticed that she looked pale at a family party. Her mother scheduled a checkup with her doctor, and within days, Harper was rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital with a cancer diagnosis.
“We’re so excited the new Primary Children’s Hospital is being built in Lehi, just down the street from our house,” said Harper’s mother, Cora. “When Harper needed leukemia treatments, we had to leave at 3:30 in the morning to travel to Salt Lake City, which is a lot when you have a kid full of cancer.”
Cancer center enhancements are part of Intermountain Healthcare’s promise to create the nation’s model health system for children. This multi-faceted plan and historic investment of at least $500 million in children’s health will be shared by Intermountain Healthcare and community philanthropic support through an emerging campaign organized by Intermountain Foundation.
The model system will feature a blend of program, research, and capital expansion, and bring together specialized pediatric caregivers from multiple Intermountain facilities and Primary Children’s pediatric partners at the University of Utah Health, ultimately serving children in a 400,000 square mile area encompassing Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, and Alaska.
The number of children diagnosed with cancer is rising, and more are coming to Primary Children’s Hospital for treatment. Every day, Primary Children’s caregivers in Salt Lake City help an average of 35 children with cancer in the inpatient unit, and about 60 kids needing cancer-related outpatient visits.
About 35 percent of children receiving infusion treatments live outside of Salt Lake City. The new Primary Children’s Hospital on the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus in Lehi will be in a more convenient location for people in and around Utah County, which is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation.
“What a wonderful opportunity it is for The Kahlert Foundation to help provide comfort for children and their families during one of the most stressful times in their lives,” said Heather Kahlert, vice president of The Kahlert Foundation and a member of the Primary Children’s Philanthropy Board. “The expertise and quality of care at Primary Children’s is unmatched, and I’m proud that our gift will help ensure that the environments where kids receive infusions will be best in class as well.”
“I continue to be inspired by Intermountain’s campaign to build the nation’s model health system for children,” Kahlert said. “I invite others to step up and join me in this effort to help children thrive in the years to come.”
Harper now is done with her cancer treatments. She is full of life, and, as her dad Ryan says, she’s “a total warrior – she always brings a smile to my face.”
“I cannot imagine what our lives would have been like without the assistance of others,” Ryan said. “That’s what gives us families hope – and hope goes a long way.”
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