NASCAR and V Foundation Fund New Children’s Cancer Unit

The NASCAR Foundation and the V Foundation donated $500,000 to renovate the pediatric hematology/oncology unit at Shands Children's Hospital.

Just before the Coke Zero 400 race weekend in Daytona Beach, the NASCAR Foundation and the V Foundation for Cancer Research presented a $500,000 check and cut a ribbon to officially open Unit 42. The organizations each donated $250,000 to fund the 18-bed unit. The gift is NASCAR’s largest donation ever to a pediatric cancer unit.

“We need to thank the NASCAR Foundation and the V Foundation for trusting us with your hard-earned donations to renovate this unit,” said William Slayton, M.D., interim chief of pediatric hematology/oncology, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Your support is already having a major impact on our community and the health of our children.”

Each room is equipped with a HEPA filter to ensure pristine air quality, as well as a 32-inch television set and Wii game console. The room also offers Internet access so patients — and their parents — can connect with peers and support groups. An activity room, funded by former UF quarterback Tim Tebow’s First and 15 Foundation, offers a mental break from IVs and infusions with three 42-inch TVs hooked up with video game systems.

Patient Logan Cruce, 2, investigates the newly renovated pediatric oncology unit.

For 2-year-old Logan Cruce and his mom Natasha, the gift means a more comfortable home away from home while he completes his last round of chemotherapy. Doctors diagnosed Logan with acute myeloid leukemia in January, just a month after his sister was born. He and his mom live in his hospital room while he undergoes treatment.

“All the kids have what he has so we don’t have to worry about him catching things from other kids,” she said as Logan happily scooted his own toy car around the activity room, indifferent to the IV lines trailing behind him. “He already has his room picked out just down the hall.” — Shayna Brouker

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Fall 2010

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