"It's the little things that mean so much," said Underwood, the Executive Director of the Jenkins County Chamber of Commerce and mother to Garrison and Gavin. A severe bout with the rotavirus landed Garrison at CHOG when he was a toddler.
"On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the worst, he was a 5," Underwood recalled. "He stayed in the hospital for five days. It's hard to keep a two-year-old in bed. So, every few hours we went for a ride in the red wagon. It gave him a way to get out of the room."
As a not-for-profit hospital, CHOG relies on the generosity of donors, supporters, and fundraisers to finance the many programs and services that make CHOG unique. One such fundraiser is the annual Miracle Treat Day on Aug. 14 at area Dairy Queen stores. The DQ in the Underwoods' hometown of Millen, as well as about a nine other DQ locations across the CSRA, will support CHOG, the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital, by donating a portion of the proceeds from every Blizzard sold on Miracle Treat Day.
Area DQ stores raised about $12,400 for CHOG through Blizzard sales in 2013, and more than $2,000 of those proceeds were generated at the Millen DQ.
"Miracle Treat Day is a chance for us to give back to the community and help many children," said Millen DQ owner Neasyie M. Suggs. "Each year we choose a goal, and then we have fun trying to get there."
The Underwoods found themselves back at CHOG when their second son Gavin was diagnosed with a hernia related to being born too early. He had to have surgery, but he really was too young to understand, according to Underwood. "All he could think about was the toy he got to choose from the toy chest. He held onto that toy going into the operating room; and when he woke up, they made sure he had it right beside him. He also got to ride in a red wagon."
The family is also thankful to Gavin's "awesome doctor" - Dr. Robin Hatley - and that the hospital allowed them to be with Gavin until he went under anesthesia. "This was great, because as a mom, you are scared and your heart breaks for your child."
Participating Augusta locations are:
- 2837 Central Avenue
- 3149 Washington Road
- 3450 Wrightsboro Road (Augusta Mall)
- 4099 Belair Road
- 3102 Peach Orchard Road
Locations outside Augusta include:
- Millen: 1234 US Hwy 25 N
- Swainsboro: 391 S. Main Street
- Waynesboro: 221 S. Liberty Street
- Louisville: 205 US Highway 1 BYP
- Thompson: 1850 Washington Road
This year's proceeds will go toward the purchase of new and improved phototherapy equipment for babies who have jaundice.
"Every penny counts toward improving the care for our young patients," said Catherine Stewart, CMN Development Coordinator at CHOG. "We encourage everyone to enjoy a cold Blizzard on a hot summer day and help us improve the care for the nearly 100,000 children treated at CHOG each year."
The 154-bed CHOG is the second-largest children's hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children.
Visit CHOG at: grhealth.org/CHOG, facebook.com/GAChildrens, and twitter.com/GAChildrens
Georgia Regents University is one of four public comprehensive research universities in the state with nearly 10,000 students enrolled in its nine colleges and schools, which include the Medical College of Georgia - the nation's 13th-oldest medical school - the nationally-ranked Hull College of Business and Georgia's only College of Dental Medicine. The clinical enterprise associated with the university includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center and the 154-bed Children's Hospital of Georgia. GRU is a unit of the University System of Georgia and an equal opportunity institution. http://www.gru.edu
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