National Hockey League Columbus Blue Jackets Captain Nick Foligno and his wife, Janelle, today announced a $500,000 gift to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“We are honored to receive this support from Nick and Janelle Foligno,” said Jim Digan, President, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect, affecting approximately 1% of the population. Their personal story affects far too many families in our country.”
When Nick and Janelle’s daughter, Milana Maria, was born in October 2013, the Foligno family was thrust into the frightening world of life-threatening congenital heart defects. The family’s journey brought them to pediatric heart specialists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, resulting in Nick and Janelle’s passion to honor their daughter and impact pediatric congenital heart care and research for children everywhere.
“From the beginning of this journey with Milana, one thing was constant - we knew we wanted to help others who would find themselves in a situation like ours. It was important to us to bring awareness to congenital heart defects and fetal cardiology so families could have an understanding and a chance to fight for their child,” said Nick Foligno.
The Foligno Family gift will be directed to The Center for Cardiovascular Research at Nationwide Children's, which will house the newly named “Foligno Family Cardiovascular Research Lab.”
The Center is a national leader in heart valve research, recognized for its excellence with funding from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.The Foligno gift will allow for the sponsorship of new ideas, purchase of new equipment and support of next generation scientists and clinicians with the ultimate goal of advancing the treatment of children and adults with heart valve disease.
The Cardiac Neurodevelopment Program in The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s will also benefit from the Foligno gift. Because advances in surgical techniques and postoperative care have led to improved survival of infants and children undergoing surgery for complex congenital heart disease, the focus has expanded to the quality of life for these survivors. The Heart Center is developing a specialized program organized around a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluation and treatment for pediatric patients with significant congenital heart defects.