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Local philanthropists donate $1 million to lower radiation risk for children needing repeat studies


David and Judy Hess love children. They know firsthand what blessings come from those tiny sparkles in each child’s eye. In their mind, they’ve raised five children: Mitch, Stacey, Melissa, Andrew and Marcus. And they currently have eight grandchildren. However, what makes David and Judy even more extraordinary is in less than 16 years, they fostered more than 60 children (mostly infants) with some up to the age of five. Their impact and love will be felt throughout generations.

Similarly, their love and compassion didn’t end with parenting. Their first major child-focused gift occurred in October of 2009 when they helped the Hawaii Preparatory Academy establish “The Kulia Fund.” Kulia in Hawaiian means to strive or to aspire, so in turn, the endowment supports exceptional high school students who have demonstrated leadership and have excelled in specific academic areas.

“We have an essential love for children,” David said. “We’ve worked diligently and feel so fortunate to have been successful in our lives, and we want to be able to share that with the children here in Nevada as well,” Judy finished.

Among other philanthropic endeavors and donations the last several years, the Hess’ first major contribution to children in northern Nevada is scheduled to take effect next Spring.

The Renown Health Foundation is pleased to announce The David and Judy Hess Children’s Imaging Center at Renown Children’s Hospital. The gift will allow Renown to purchase a low-dose 128-slice CT Scanner. The scanner is specifically designed to minimize radiation exposure to children by as much as 80 percent.

“This will be a huge benefit to children who need repeated studies to diagnose those complex cases,” said Tim Blakely, director of X-Ray and Imaging Services at Renown Regional Medical Center. “Studies have shown that when children are x-rayed or scanned under traditional imaging technologies, the exposure to radiation often creates additional health issues.

In addition to the low-dose 128-slice CT Scanner designed with children in mind, the $1 million contribution will outfit a new room to house it, purchase a variety of associated equipment and remodel adjacent rooms for children’s x-ray, ultrasound and check-in.

“We were so impressed with the services offered,” Judy said. “Once we visited and saw Renown Children’s Hospital, we knew this was where we needed to help.”

Scheduled to open in Spring 2013, the center will be located immediately north of the Children’s ER on the ground level of Renown Regional Medical Center.

With an average of more than 60-70 visits to the Children’s ER at Renown each day, young patients who need emergency imaging will have easier access and less associated radiation risk.

“We are very grateful for the inspiring generosity of the Hess family,” said Joel Muller, vice president of Fund Development for Renown Health. “Their philanthropy will make a meaningful and measurable difference for the health of our youngest patients every single day. We could not be more grateful.”

The Renown Foundation is also raising funds for an expanded Children’s Specialty Care and Children’s Infusion Center across the hall from the David and Judy Hess Children’s Imaging Center, allowing all pediatric outpatient services to be located in one convenient area.

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