Friends of Children’s Hospital began in 1989 with a group of dedicated hospital supporters who had a desire to improve health care for Mississippi’s children. Shortly after, they were asked to support a campaign to build a new children’s hospital. The support Friends provided to this effort helped make possible the construction of the Batson Children’s Hospital, which opened in 1997. Additional needs arose and Friends has continued fundraising efforts to this day.

Friends of Children's HospitalSince it began, Friends has helped the Batson Hospital meet a wide range of needs from coffee for families, decorating the lobby at Christmas, partially funding the activity rooms and helping build the public’s awareness of the need to support Batson. Friends also has contributed to the continued growth of children’s services by raising $1.7 million each for the Pediatric Surgical Center and Children’s Emergency Department; donating $100,000 to the D. Jeanette Pullen Chair of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and giving $500,000 for the Suzan B. Thames Endowed Chair of Pediatrics. These chairs will ensure the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty who will both train future physicians and treat our children.

Friends’ recently competed the fundraising goal for the new Eli Manning Children’s Clinics at Batson Children’s Hospital.  Friends partnered with Eli Manning and BankPlus to raise $2.5 million over a period of 5 years and everyone is thrilled that more than $2.9 million was raised.  What a wonderful gift for the children of our state treated at children’s hospital!

With the community’s support of our many projects, Friends also has been able to fund a project aimed at improving each child’s stay in the hospital. Lodgenet Interactive is a new entertainment system that was introduced in Batson Children’s Hospital in 2010.  Each patient room features a flat screen television and patients can watch, pause and rewind stored movies or television programs.  Children and parents can access pre-recorded short films regarding a child’s diagnosis or a scheduled treatment.  Hospital information and tips for parents are available and the children can access Nintendo GameCube games to help pass the time.  Our hope is that this addition will help reduce stress for families who are trying to keep a sick child content during a hospital stay.

Friends of Children’s Hospital would not be able to support Batson Children’s Hospital without the support of the community.  We accept general donations throughout the year and would be glad to send an acknowledgment card if your donation is in honor or memory of someone.  Please contact Melanie Schade at 601-984-5273 or mschade@umc.edu if you have any questions regarding Friends of Children’s Hospital and our fundraising efforts for our state’s only children’s hospital.