A recent draft statement of the goals and objectives of Children's Hospital summarizes its mission very concisely. It reads:
"The goal of Children's Hospital National Medical Center is to assure the optimal health and well-being of infants, children, and adolescents. To attain this goal the Hospital is committed to the following four objectives:
1.to plan and provide comprehensive programs of health care;
2. to offer clinical and didactic education opportunities to medical students, physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals;
3. to stimulate and engage in research in childhood diseases and disorders, and;
4. to exercise leadership in child health advocacy."
These are the goals that have evolved at Children's Hospital over the last Century. One other crucial element distinguishes the hospital.
Children's Hospital has remained dedicated to the service of underprivileged children of all races and creeds.
No child is ever denied entry due to financial limitations. Whether or not the parents can afford medical treatment, each patient receives the same degree of care, concern and support as any other patient.
This cost money. Lots of money. Each year, District Liners must supply what's needed to keep the hospital's doors open to the children of parents who are strapped for money at the moment.
And each year, faithful readers dig deep to pay off the "built-in deficit" that is incurred by providing free or "partially reimbursed" service to those who cannot cope with the full impact of a modern hospital bill.
Children's Hospital is equipped with the most advanced medical technology. The doctors there are among the finest in the nation. The reputation born of this combination is known and respected throughout the world.
A letter containing a check for $10 arrived yesterday that gives some perspective on this reputation:
"In Feb. 1957 my little niece was flown from Trinidad to Children's Hospital suffering from an unknown ailment. She spent over three months in the hospital, receiving the specialized care that was required.
"My brother had no insurance to cover medical expenses but my niece received all necessary treatment free of cost."
That's our hospital, all right. The doctors there do not restrict themselves solely to District residents or even to just Americans. Children's Hospital's patients originate in every part of the world in which the hospital's reputation has become known.
One contributor of $10 hasn't had occasion to use the hospital. His gift is "in anticipation of a healthy first child, due in April." This reader has been doing his homework. About four months separate him from fatherhood, and he's already chosen a medical facility for his child, should the need ever arise.
Many gifts are sent to the hospital in memory of a friend or relative who has died. Neighbors in Rockville's Aspen Knolls section remembered a great friend of children who died just last weekend:
"She was the best example of a good friend, good neighbor, and a good person to grown-ups and children alike. She was such a special person and always gave to Children's Hospital and even collected in the neighborhood for them in the past. Losing someone this time of the year is especially hard, so instead of flowers at her funeral, we thought she would like a gift for the children."
The friends of the deceased collected $70 for the hospital to honor the memory of "someone very close."
Within every stack of mail I receive for Children's Hospital are similar personal stories. Other letters contain descriptions of money-raising activities. Today the pipeline released another 58 letters from individuals, totaling $2,963.
The contributions from groups or organizations have been put aside until tomorrow so I can tell you about today's individual blockbuster.
For the seventh year in a row, one District Liner has remembered his wife with a $1,000 gift to Children's Hospital in her memory.
It's hard to put a price on memories. But the size of this contribution must indicate the love and the loss this man still feels. Thank you very much for your annual helping hand.
Very few District Liners can afford to give a contribution of this magnitude. But every little bit helps, from a few dollars on up. So please, be a friend of the children.
The shoebox total inched forward to $23,826.90 at our last reckoning. Along with today's $2,963 our total for the drive to date is $26,789.90.
To keep the good work going, please send your tax-deductible check, payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20071. You'll have the satisfaction of knowing you helped.