We started talking about the issue of pediatric trauma over eight years ago, and officially launched the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma on July 30, 2008. My wife Judy and I told our friends Dr. Charlie Branch, a neurosurgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and Dr. Wayne Meredith, a leading trauma surgeon, that we wanted to support a cause that would make a big difference in kids’ lives. They told us that 12,000 kids died every year from pediatric trauma. We decided this cause was right for us because of the staggering numbers and how many people don’t know about the number one killer of our children.
It made us think, out of those 12,000 how many could have been saved with more research and awareness, improving techniques during the golden hour and increasing the number of Level I pediatric trauma centers? There are so many children that could survive with the better treatments for head, chest and other severe injuries.
Somebody had to do it and we felt that it was a great opportunity for us to make a difference in families’ lives. My brother lost one of his kids at a very young age. Ray Dobson, a friend of mine, lost two of his kids and we knew a lot of different people through the years that lost children and grandchildren. We knew many of them could have been saved in a different situation. That’s what drives us to make a difference.
I’m not a very patient person, as anyone can tell you. I like to see things move, but you have to consider what it takes to engage the right people and collaborate with the right hospitals. Our vision was for the Institute to be bigger than just a quick fix or one time project. We wanted to solve this problem as our legacy to injured kids everywhere. It may take 30 years from now but our vision is that we’ll make a difference in kids’ lives.
I have a friend whose child was paralyzed from a bad accident. His child will never be able to walk or talk again. It has deeply affected their family and they struggle every day. We always wonder about this little boy who is paralyzed, with the right research or the right intervention or the right rehabilitation when he was injured, could we have made a difference in his outcome?
To achieve our goals, we need major support. We need to convince our government to support this issue in a big way. We’ve got kids dying right here every day. Kids die every day in America until we figure out how to get it fixed. We’ve helped reduce the number of kids that lose their life every day from 12,000 in 2008 to less than 10,000 in 2015, but that’s not enough. Over 200,000 kids are hospitalized with a serious injury every year, and many have life-altering disabilities like my friend’s little son.
We want to make the biggest impact in the fastest way, but making a long-term difference takes time and persistence. If we can save one life, it’s worth all of the investment, but we can do better than that. We CAN save the lives of injured kids in America with the right collaboration for research, education and advocacy.
Our family believes in making a difference. You can help us by supporting our work and raising awareness, whether that’s on social media or letting your government leaders know this cause and our children are important to you. Thanks for helping Save Injured Kids.
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