SDSU students help fund kids’ hospital

Melissa Fose

Melissa Fose

The SDSU State-a-Thon has pledged $100,000 to sponsor one of the rooms at the new Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls.

The pledge will be paid over a five-year period and will help cover the cost of the hospital. The money will come from the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) State-a-Thon fundraiser event which the University Program Council hosts each year. During the 12-hour fundraiser event, SDSU students come together to support CMN.

“It’s just really gratifying to be a part of something that’s making such a big difference,” said Carson Dinger, the social awareness coordinator for UPC.

Dinger, a psychology and sociology major from Wahpeton, N.D., compared the new Sanford Children’s Hospital to the Mayo Clinic. “It will be like the Mayo Clinic for children,” he said.

Along with a pediatric intensive care unit, there will be a neonatal intensive care unit and specialty clinic. Sanford will have “more than 30 pediatric subspecialists, 16 general specialists and more than 100 family medicine physicians” working at the new facility, according to a Sanford Children’s fact sheet.

“It will be much more kid-friendly,” said Theresa Dendinger, a former intern for Children’s Miracle Network. Dendinger is a senior SDSU human development family studies major from Vermillion. She said the hospital is designed to calm kids’ fear of the doctor.

Sanford said the $52 million project will be completed in 2009. The four-floor, 168,000 square foot facility will have 120 patient beds and maintain a castle-like look, inside and out.

The State-a-Thon is among big names. Mike Miller, of the Memphis Grizzlies, and his wife donated $1 million at the groundbreaking ceremony on May 23. In honor of the gift, the PICU will be named after the couple.

The Minnesota Vikings’ Chad Greenway pledged $100,000 for the new hospital, and the University of South Dakota will sponsor a room in the PICU as well.

Because Sanford Children’s is supported by the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), each child that comes to the hospital for treatment will be eligible for CMN assistance.

“(CMN) is a really good support system for the hospital,” said Dendinger. The organization works to alleviate the smaller stressors of a child’s illness, like gas, food, hotel rooms and more.

One-hundred percent of CMN fundraising stays local to help children in the area, including all money raised at SDSU’s State-a-Thon. The State-a-Thon room will be located in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), Room No. 2905.