Stepping in to support ‘Just for Kids’ care
When I was asked to contribute an article to Cart Wheels magazine, I was extremely flattered, to say the least. Although my family and I have a very special connection to the wonderful doctors, caring nurses and aides, and so many others who make up the outstanding team of caregivers at Norton Children’s Hospital, there are countless families in our community, some of whom I work with every day, who have also been touched in some way by the hospital. I am honored to have an opportunity to share my words.
My personal experience with Norton Children’s Hospital began when my son, Kevin, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin. In short, insulin is a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. While the exact cause is still unknown and there is no cure, Type 1 diabetes can be fatal if left untreated. As many parents in our community can understand and relate to, our son’s diagnosis was completely unexpected and scary. Kevin was a normal, active kid who wanted to be just that — a kid! Hospitals and doctor visits were not supposed to be part of it.
We were very fortunate that his condition was caught early and Kevin did not require the critical care services that so many children must undergo. Our son was properly diagnosed, and beginning with our remarkable experience with Norton Children’s Hospital, has learned to manage his diabetes. We are extremely grateful for the support we received and appreciated how the doctors, nurses and staff made a difficult situation more bearable for our son and our family. Kevin is now a young adult and leads a healthy, productive life thanks to the education, support and care we received from the hospital and other caregivers in the community. Thanks also to Norton Children’s Hospital and the Novak family for the formation of the Wendy L. Novak Diabetes Care Center, which is an incredible resource for families dealing with Type 1 diabetes.
The care and compassion shown to us and the many families who have experienced similar ordeals reminds me of my associates with whom I work every day. As the CEO of Republic Bank, a local community bank, I am so proud of how so many of our employees give their time, energy and financial resources to a wide variety of causes — raising money through various walks, runs, bowling and even jumping in the Ohio River in the winter, just to name a few! Supporting great organizations, like Norton Children’s Hospital, is part of the culture of Republic associates. Many volunteer their time at schools, shelters, places of worship, various hospitals and other avenues where there is a need. After all, as Mayor Greg Fischer has proclaimed, Louisville is a compassionate city. I am proud to say that my associates certainly live up to that name time and time again.
One of my favorite events, which benefits Norton Children’s Hospital, is the Festival of Trees & Lights. This event, which Republic Bank is proud to sponsor annually, celebrates the inclusiveness in our community. Hosted by the Children’s Hospital Foundation, hundreds of volunteers design and decorate holiday trees, wreaths and hand-crafted items. All items are available for sale, which in turn benefits the many children in our community who are seeking medical care at Norton Children’s Hospital. What began in 1989 as a simple fundraiser for the hospital has grown into one of the largest events raising much-needed funds for our hospital. This year, the event will be held Nov. 13 to 15 at Louisville Slugger Field and over 5,000 attendees are expected. Although Republic Bank is the presenting sponsor of the Festival of Trees & Lights, I am confident you will see many of our associates volunteering their time at the event as well.
The Louisville community is fortunate to have many outstanding health care options. But when it comes to our children, Norton Children’s Hospital is the only full-service, free-standing pediatric hospital in this region. More than 170,000 children are treated at Norton Children’s Hospital facilities each year regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Support from the community is vital. Advancements in the medical field are made every day and thanks to the support of many, Norton Children’s Hospital continues to stay on the cutting edge. I cannot imagine where my family and I would be without Norton Children’s Hospital.