The Women’s Board began 50 years ago in a beautiful home in San Marco when a small group of women committed themselves to ensuring that the neophyte Wolfson Children’s Hospital would soon have the very best equipment available to care for our community’s infants and children.
These visionaries were called together by Ellen Cavert after her granddaughter, Abby Martin, the infant twin of Ray and Richard Martin, passed away shortly after her premature birth in 1972 as the hospital had only the medical equipment to care for a single baby.
Then, Wolfson Children’s Hospital was just a small unit in Baptist Hospital along the St. Johns River. Now recognized among America’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Wolfson Children’s Hospital has grown to 276 beds and cared for more than a million children.
The Women’s Board is now 400 members strong and has raised more than $35 million for equipment and facilities at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Funds raised have supported trauma services, mental health care, neonatal intensive care and more.
Wolfson Children’s is the second-largest children’s hospital in Florida and the only children’s hospital between Orlando and Atlanta, one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. With specialty centers located as far as Daytona, Tallahassee, Valdosta and Brunswick, getting children the care they need often involves transporting them to Jacksonville.
The Women’s Board has committed to raising $1.5 million for a new Kids Kare Mobile ICU, a neonatal and pediatric critical care transport vehicle. The Kids Kare ambulance will be equipped with everything needed to transport critically ill children of all ages, including monitors, defibrillators, IV pumps and medications, infant isolettes with warmers and respiratory equipment. Kids Kare ambulances and helicopters transport around 3,000 infants and children each year to Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Of these, 15% are newborns who need neonatal intensive care services.
“Every time I see the Kids Kare ambulance when I’m driving in the community, I am grateful for the work of The Women’s Board,” said Women’s Board President Kendra McCrary. “Grateful, because I’ve met some of the children and families whose lives have been changed, and even saved, because of the hospital’s mobile services. And grateful for the incredible mobile medical team that provides those services. Their stories motivate me to do all in my power to support the work being done at Wolfson Children’s.”
To fund this lifesaving ambulance, The Women’s Board produces two major events that together raise $1 million each year: First Coast Design Show, North Florida’s premiere antiques, garden and art show held the first weekend in December; and The Florida Forum speaker series featuring heads of state, business heavyweights, entertainers, pundits, sports heroes, artists and more.
Wolfson Children’s is vital to our community, and The Women’s Board continues to be committed to our mission to raise funds and awareness of this very special hospital.
Click here to read the Crew Shea story.
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