ORLANDO, Fla., August 16, 2012 - Florida Hospital for Children recently opened the first and only dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant (BMT) unit in Central Florida. The specialized unit is designed with the latest technology and a kid-friendly environment to care for children undergoing life-saving treatment for 72 cancerous and non-cancerous diseases.
"Recovering from a bone marrow transplant requires a lot of time in the hospital so having a dedicated bone marrow transplant unit right here in Central Florida means patients now have a safer environment to recover in," said Dr. Paul Gordon, medical director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Florida Hospital for Children. "It also means we can perform this life-saving procedure close to home which removes a huge burden from the families."
The newly designed eight bed unit features a fun nature theme that ties in the ocean, jungle and savannah to create a relaxing environment. The unit also features state-of-the-art amenities, private patient rooms, a playroom for both patients and siblings, positive air pressure and a high efficiency filtration system to decrease the risk of infection for patients and their families. The name of the new unit is the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center at Florida Hospital for Children.
"Kids Beating Cancer is so excited to be a part of this amazing new program," said Margaret Guedes, CEO and founder of Kids Beating Cancer. "We have pledged to fund necessary lab tests not covered by insurance for potential bone marrow transplant recipients. This is a crucial step for families undergoing life-changing diagnosis and we hope we can take some of the burden off of the families."
Thanks to Kids Beating Cancer, Mikala Barnes, 15, recently received a bone marrow transplant after being diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a disease that attacks bone marrow. She became the first pediatric recipient of an unrelated bone marrow transplant in Central Florida. An unrelated bone marrow transplant means the donor was found through the National Bone Marrow Registry and did not come from Mikala's family. Post-transplant, Mikala is now on her journey back to health.
"Dr. Gordon, the nurses and the entire team at the hospital were so amazing throughout my transplant," said Mikala. "I know this program and the new unit will help so many other kids. I think the other kids will really like this new unit because it is designed just for them."
The addition of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program and the grand opening of the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center at Florida Hospital for Children would not have been possible without the generous support of the community, especially Kids Beating Cancer.
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