Two year-old Owen Hart, like most toddlers, loves his family, playing outside, and all his special toys. When his mother, Amy Burge, noticed several bruises on her son that wouldn’t heal, she took him to the doctor and got the news no parent wants to hear. Her child had cancer.
“I was devastated and lost,” said Burge. “I had no family here. It’s the middle of a pandemic, and I was alone. I had no idea how we were going to get through it.”
Owen was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and admitted at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Thankfully, the pediatric oncology team had every resource available to treat Owen close to home. As a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partner, Golisano receives support from its affiliated fundraising campaigns, like the upcoming Publix Miracles campaign.
The Publix Miracles campaign runs from June 3 through June 14, and during that time, “miracle coupons” will be given to Publix customers who make a donation while at the register. The coupon booklet offers up to $20 in savings from vendors like Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Cereal, Mars (Mars Petcare, Mars Chocolate and Wrigley), Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Dasani, Georgia Pacific (Angel Soft Bath Tissue and Sparkle Paper Towels), Oil-Dri (Cat’s Pride), Red Bull and Frito Lay.
“We are so grateful to our community for coming out to support our young patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital,” said Chris Simoneau, Lee Health’s Chief Foundation and Development Officer. “We continue to be blown away by the region’s generosity, and we encourage everyone who is able to take part in the Publix Miracles campaign. You can be a true miracle worker for our patients!”
More than 60 Publix grocery stores in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties are a part of the campaign. Last year, Southwest Florida Publix stores raised $43,275 for Golisano Children’s Hospital. Nationally, Publix raised $3.7 million dollars in 2020 to support kids treated at their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout North America.
The proceeds raised from the sale of the miracle coupons will help Golisano secure life-saving medical equipment and provide education and outreach programs, as well as family assistance. It helps families, just like Owen’s. Owen is one of 70 children diagnosed with cancer last year at Golisano.
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is one of only nine centers in the state to offer complete pediatric cancer care and the program is largely funded through donations and community support.
Owen continues to receive his cancer treatment at Golisano, a place he and his mom have come to call a second home.
“I don’t know what I would have done without the team at Golisano,” said Burge. “The oncology staff quickly became my support system, my community and my family. I really do not know what I would have done, or what I would continue to do without them. They are truly special human beings. They are saving my life and my son’s.”
For more information, visit www.GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.