Thank you Big Lots for your sixth point-of-sale fundraising campaign benefitting Nationwide Children's Hospital. The "Serve Families. Give Big" campaign included all 1,416 Big Lots stores and over 35,000 Big Lots associates working to collect over $3.2 million dollars in customer donations.
"Big Lots and their customers from all over the country continue to demonstrate their kindness following another successful campaign," said Steve Testa, President, Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation. "This generosity will impact all the patients and families who will walk through Nationwide Children's Hospital's doors for years to come."
Together with Big Lots and the Big Lots Foundation, Nationwide Children's is taking a stand to advance the treatment, research, and care associated with pediatric Behavioral Health. For too long this patient population has gone undiagnosed and underserved. Through Big Lots’ transformational partnership, the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion will be complete in 2020. This will be the largest, free-standing, pediatric research and treatment facility in the country.
In addition to being a distinguished corporate sponsor, Big Lots associates are generous with their time. Since 2013, volunteers from the Big Lots corporate office in Columbus have visited the hospital’s Family Resource Center twice a month to deliver a variety of books and healthy snacks to patient families. Furthermore, Big Lots is a sponsor of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon Encore Mile. Each mile along the marathon route is represented by a hospital patient champion and the Encore Mile welcomes past marathon Patient Champions to help cheer on race participants.
Meet the 2019 Big Lots Patient Champions
Look for these patients and their stories in Big Lots stores nationwide during the fall campaign.
Hometown: Bexley, Ohio
Diagnosis: Eating Disorder, Depression, Anxiety
For many parents, it’s a good thing when your teenager takes up running. But for Chloe’s parents, their now 19 year-old daughter’s sudden interest in the sport, became a concern. While active and talented in many ways, Chloe had never before participated in track, cross country or half marathons. But then one day, seven years ago, she began running for miles.
There were other warning signs as well, but it’s never easy or clear-cut, even for well-meaning and attentive parents. It wasn’t a single incident or episode, but the accumulation of worries and concerns that led her parents to seek help at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for Chloe and her eating disorder.
Across the country, access to care for patients with eating disorders is lacking. However, Nationwide Children’s has boldly made a stand for pediatric behavioral health and features innovative programming led by a multidisciplinary team. Still, even with comprehensive treatment, it doesn’t mean that patients like Chloe have an easy journey to healing. Unlike some physical illnesses that can be treated with a single surgical procedure or days of antibiotics, behavioral health issues generally require weeks and months of care.
Clinicians in the field often refer to the “eating disorder voice” that compels patients. Physicians at Nationwide Children’s told her family that Chloe had one of the strongest eating disorder voices they had encountered. To help cope with the disorder, Chloe’s family named her voice “Ed.”
“You just keep pushing and pushing in a positive way until ‘Ed’ gives up,” says her dad, Eric.
Today, Chloe is doing great. She recently graduated from high school and is starting her freshman year at CU Boulder this fall.
“I am grateful for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and my family for their constant support. I want others who may be out there struggling to know they are not alone, and there is hope for recovery,” says Chloe.
Hometown: Kendallville, IN
Diagnosis: Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer
When Nash had bruising under his left eye, his parents just thought he had fallen. Then they noticed what appeared to be a tooth infection. Nash was referred to an oral surgeon who took x-rays and completed a biopsy. The results came back that Nash could have three different types of cancer.
Nash’s first trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital was in the beginning of October 2017. On October 7, 2017 the doctors at Nationwide Children’s confirmed that Nash had Stage 4 Neuroblastoma with two tumors. He had one on his left adrenal gland and one on his left cheek bone/jaw. Nash underwent many rounds of chemotherapy, two surgeries, two stem cell transplants and immunotherapy.
Nash is now five years old and continues to fight through remission. He is happy, resilient and full of life. Nash’s mom, Jolene, says, “Nationwide Children's Hospital means the world to us. We will forever be grateful for everything they have done to cure Nash. Nationwide Children's means hope, family, gratitude, peace and a future for Nash.”
Nash is all boy. He likes Power Rangers, superheroes, dinosaurs and the Ninja Turtles. He also likes playing with slime and putty. He especially loves spending time outside and fishing with his dad and grandpa.
Hometown: Howell, NJ
Diagnosis: Gastroparesis, SMA Syndrome, Functional Dyspepsia, and Visceral Hyperalgesia, Gastric Pacemaker
Jonna has been diagnosed with many conditions over the past several years including Gastroparesis, SMA Syndrome, Functional Dyspepsia, and Visceral Hyperalgesia. She is also suspected to have an underlying connective tissue disease, all of which contributed to her significant digestive issues. Throughout it all, she has kept a positive outlook and continues to inspire others every single day.
After her symptoms became unbearable, she was referred to Nationwide Children's Hospital Motility Center. In 2017, Jonna became a candidate for the gastric pacemaker and on October 31, 2017, after a very long journey, Jonna received her pacemaker.
“Nationwide Children's Hospital has honestly saved our daughter's life. The team here and the gastric pacemaker has given Jonna her entire life back. It has been our home away from home for several years now, where her doctors care so much about her, her well-being, and her future. When I saw the slogan, "When your child needs a hospital, everything matters," I knew this was exactly where we needed to be. It truly means more than words could ever explain,” says Jonna’s mom, Tara.
Jonna absolutely loves school. She enjoys participating in after school clubs and volunteers often at her local hospital and community events. She likes hanging out with her friends, going to the movies or out to restaurants, cooking and reading. She also really loves spending time with her sister, Allie, and her two dogs.
Hometown: Florence, AL
Diagnosis: Idiopathic Constipation
Ella was born healthy and beautiful and even though she was continuing to thrive, she suffered from severe, debilitating constipation.
Ella would go three weeks or more and not have a bowel movement. She would not be able to eat, and if she did, it was always very little. There were instances when so much time would pass, that Ella would run a fever, vomit, and feel extremely lethargic until she would pass a bowel movement.
Ella was seven years old when she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Constipation. Her family traveled from their home in Alabama to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in order to see Dr. Richard Wood. He was the first doctor to provide Ella with the help and tools she needed in order to feel healthy again.
“Ella was in so much pain and felt so miserable that she never wanted to do anything. Her doctors have now given her a chance to play and be silly. They have given her a daily routine to provide relief and have energy. This is something we have never seen in her. It really is a blessing,” says Ella’s mom, Yvonne.
Ella is very creative and loves to build Legos, do puzzles, read and draw. She enjoys playing hockey, dress up and loves anything Disney.
Hometown: Frankfort, KY
Diagnosis: Tetralogy of Fallot and Type 1 Diabetes
Just two days after Kyla was born, she was already fighting for her life. But boy, did she fight. To keep her alive, Kyla had to have a shunt put in until she was strong enough to handle the complete open-heart surgery she would need to undergo nine months later. Although the open-heart surgery was successful, Kyla’s family was told she’d need another heart surgery years down the road.
In April 2013, Kyla was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. She had to endure 15 sugar checks per day and pod changes – in addition to her regular cardiologist appointments. In February 2016, the time came for Kyla to have her valve replacement. By some miracle, Dr. Darren Berman was able to do the procedure entirely by catheterization without having to do open-heart surgery.
Through all her difficulties, Kyla has continually demonstrated her intrinsic strong will to not only survive – but to thrive – no matter her circumstances. She doesn’t let anything get her down or keep her from doing the things she loves. Today she is an incredibly talented 14-year-old who does modeling, plays volleyball and dances.
“The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital means so much to us. Without Dr. Berman, our daughter would have had to have open-heart surgery to put in her new valve. He means a lot to our family. Doctors like him give us hope, which is why we are more than willing to travel to Nationwide Children’s all the way from Kentucky,” says Judy, Kyla’s mom.
Hometown: Mounds, OK
Age during campaign: 11
Andy was born via C-Section at 35 weeks. He was six pounds and 18 inches long. From the beginning he developed some feeding problems, and when he turned two he was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
After many years of fighting and encountering problems due to his oral aversion, his doctors decided on the implantation of a Gastrostomy button, to help maintain his nutrition.
In 2016, Andy was diagnosed with severe Gastroparesis. His doctors decided to change his Gastrostomy tube to a Gastrojejunal tube, which then prevented him from eating by mouth. After this diagnosis, his local Gastroenterologist decided to send him to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The doctors ran an assortment of tests and the results indicated that Andy was a candidate for the gastric pacemaker. Andy had the pacemaker implanted and his life changed drastically for the better.
“This hospital means hope and for us, and peace of mind that our son is under the best medical care. We are truly grateful for the medical team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” says Carolina, Andy’s mother.
Andy enjoys playing with his friends, reading books and attending school. He loves to play video games and basketball. Andy is a warrior and a true fighter!
Hometown: Naples, FL
Diagnosis: Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome, ADHD
Age during campaign: 10
For many years, local doctors in Florida told Avery’s family that she would grow out of her medical issues and they were "normal.” Avery’s mother, Sherrie, had an instinctive feeling that her daughter’s symptoms were being caused by something more.
Avery was born with a Velopharyngeal insufficiency. She was also experiencing learning difficulties and developmental delays. Avery’s mother did some research online and found out that Dr. Richard Kirschner, the director of the Cleft Lip and Palate-Craniofacial Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, would be in their area of Naples, FL for an upcoming presentation. Dr. Kirschner let Avery and her family sit in on his presentation to other professionals. When they approached him after and explained Avery’s symptoms, he said to come make an appointment with the 22q team at Nationwide Children’s, and that they don't turn anyone away.
Avery and her family made the trip to Columbus and little did they know, Avery had many other medical issues that were not noticed by her local doctors. Avery was diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome and ADHD. “Avery would not be where she is in life without Dr. Richard Kirschner and his whole 22q team. We travel because they are the best of the best. Everyone at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has always made the extra effort to get Avery the care she needs. There is no place like it,” says Sherrie.
Avery is now receiving the treatment she needs and feeling great. She loves JoJo Siwa and all her music. She blasts it every chance she gets. Avery enjoys Cars/Lightning McQueen and My Little Pony. She always eats her fruits and vegetables because she knows they are helping her grow stronger.
Hometown: Glendale, CA
Diagnosis: Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
Bryce came into the world at 24 weeks old weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces. His lungs were failing and he developed acute kidney failure. His doctors said there was nothing more they could do for him.
Bryce’s mother, Connie, reached out to a group on social media and asked for prayers. In return, she received replies in seconds and many informed her about the Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) Unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Connie made the decision to travel from California to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Bryce spent the next two years in the BPD Unit. After spending all of his birthdays in Columbus, in December 2018 Bryce was California bound to a hospital close to home. After seven weeks there, they were finally sent home on February 7, 2019.
“Nationwide Children's was like an oasis in the desert of children hospitals for us, even from all the way over in California. It was almost like a fairy land hospital that knew what to do for my son when others said there was nothing more that can be done. Nationwide's C4A unit not only got a handle on his BPD, but they also cared about him holistically. They cared about his nutrition, growth, keeping him from stress and worked diligently on his development. We feel grateful for their pursuit for what's right and what works. Patients are not just a number and just like their slogan, "When your child needs a hospital, everything matters," says Connie.
Bryce loves to give high five's, listen to music, play with his toys, and strum his ukulele. Bryce is a fighter who loves to smile. He has received so much along the way and Nationwide Children’s Hospital was his greatest foundation.
Diagnosis: Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Age during campaign: 4
Zariah has fought for every single breath she has ever taken. She was born four months early in Salt Lake City. She entered the world prematurely, and it took eight minutes to revive Zariah. She weighed just 1 pound, 6 ounces.
“Throughout our journey, we have been told countless times that she was not going to make it. In April 2016, we were informed that Zariah had the worst case of Chronic Lung Disease the hospital in Utah had seen and her chance of survival was 0%,” says Shawn, Zariah’s father.
After being given no chance of survival, Zariah’s parents, Shawn and Vilayvone, chose to give her every opportunity to thrive. Zariah and her father Shawn transferred to Nationwide Children's Hospital. This 1,700 mile move gave Zariah a 96 percent chance of survival. She went from a medically-paralyzed and sedated baby to a smiling, interactive and thriving child.
“Our journey has been a roller coaster. Our little fighter has endured and conquered many trials over the last three years. She has triumphed over heart surgery at three weeks of age, pneumonias, 12 blood transfusions, sepsis, and lung collapse,” says Shawn.
Zariah has come so far, but still has many challenges to overcome. She has oral aversion from being intubated for six months. She becomes agitated and gags at everything near her mouth. Zariah is working on taking steps and walking. She and her family’s future holds extensive speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
“Zariah's strength and perseverance has been life changing to so many! We are so blessed to call her our daughter. Her light and strength lifts us up during the unbearable moments. She has reminded us to treasure and celebrate every moment. We know she will be able to overcome these developmental challenges with the help of therapy. We know in our heart that she can overcome anything! We continue to witness miracles daily,” says Shawn.
"Give Big" named 2017 Gold Halo Award Winner
Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Big Lots Foundation are thrilled to be named the 2017 Gold Halo Award Winner in the Point of Sale Campaign category. The Halo Awards, presented by Engage for Good, are North America’s highest honor for corporate social responsibility initiatives and cause marketing campaigns targeted at consumers and/or employees. This prestigious CSR and cause marketing award looks at social good campaigns targeted at consumers and/or employees involving a company and cause.
Coming in 2020: Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion
In recognition of the transformational $50 million gift from Big Lots and the Big Lots Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital named the new behavioral health treatment and research center in their name. When it is completed in 2020, this pavilion will be the largest research and treatment facility, on a pediatric campus, in the country.
It’s a big move to address a national crisis. Behavioral health issues, including suicide, are dramatically increasing among children under the age of 18. One in five children ages 13-18 live with a serious mental illness, but only half of those children will get the treatment they need.
Thank you Big Lots for a BIG move to create a brighter future for our next generation!
Want to learn more about Big Lots' cause marketing efforts for Nationwide Children's?
Listen to Selfish Giving's podcast The Story Behind Big Lots' $50 Million Gift to Nationwide Children's Hospital.