Louisville’s celebrity sweetheart helps start heart unit for kids
Louisville’s celebrity sweetheart and Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has opened her heart to the Norton Children’s Hospital Heart Center to establish the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
In February, the Lawrence Family Foundation gave a $2 million gift to establish the unit for children recovering from heart procedures, open-heart surgery including heart transplants, heart failure and other conditions requiring intensive care.
More than 5,000 children a year visit the Norton Children’s Hospital Heart Center for specialized heart care, and the number of children needing specialized heart care continues to increase. Meeting that need requires the heart center to invest in the cardiac intensive care unit as well as renovate the existing “Just for Kids” Critical Care Center. These improvements come at a cost.
The Children’s Hospital Foundation has taken the initiative to raise the needed funds by challenging the community to raise an additional $2 million to support the Norton Children’s Hospital Heart Center.
“My family and I have met so many wonderful children on our visits to the hospital. Their strength and courage is inspiring,” Lawrence said. “I challenge everyone to give whatever they can to raise an additional $2 million to help.”
“We are thankful for the generosity shown by the Lawrence Family Foundation with this gift,” said Thomas D. Kmetz, division president, Women’s and Children’s Services and Norton Children’s Hospital. “We are equally thankful that she has put her trust in the outstanding work taking place at Norton Children’s Hospital every day by challenging the community to join her in support of our heart care program.”
Each year, the heart center performs more than 17,500 procedures that include open heart surgeries, catheter-based procedures, implanted cardiac devices and noninvasive tests such as echocardiograms.
The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit will feature 17 private rooms and space for families to stay with their children. It will be staffed by additional specialists with cardiac critical care training and experience, dedicated nursing staff and other professionals focused solely on heart care. Research has shown that units such as this can improve recovery.
“Offering the kind of programs, services, technology and equipment found at the heart center demands support from the entire community,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, chief development officer for Norton Healthcare and executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This gift and challenge goes a long way in rallying our community to advance the world-class care available here for those throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.”
Norton Children’s Hospital, working with specialists from University of Louisville Physicians and Pediatric Heart Care Partners, is home to the only heart center serving children and adults with congenital heart defects and children with acquired heart disease in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The heart center offers services to support the needs of children from before birth through adulthood. Adult congenital heart services, fetal cardiology, heart failure and transplant services are the only specialized heart programs in the state. These programs are led by a specialized team of cardiologists, electrophysiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, intensive care physicians, cardiovascular anesthesiologists and support staff to address the needs of the entire family.