Steve Young, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, and his wife, Barbara, an East Valley native, have pledged $1 million to support Banner Children’s Hospital at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.
Banner Health is planning to build a six-floor tower to house the nonprofit children’s hospital on the Banner Desert campus. It will increase the number of pediatric beds at Banner Desert from 128 to 220, including units for general pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, neonatal intensive care and oncology.
In 1993, Steve Young founded the Forever Young Foundation, a Mesa-based nonprofit organization that serves children who face significant physical, emotional and financial challenges by providing academic, athletic and therapeutic opportunities unavailable to them.
Through Steve and Barbara Young, and Forever Young, Banner Children’s Hospital will include a Forever Young Zone, which will be a “place for kids to escape the rigors and discomfort of medical procedures they undergo.”
“We have been supportive of children’s hospitals in the Bay Area of San Francisco, and in Utah,” Steve Young said. “My wife is from here and we have our foundation here, and so it makes sense that Banner would be building a new hospital and we really want to be part of it. We’ve done this in other hospitals, created recreational therapeutic units where kids can get together and play, and have fun and recreate, enjoy themselves and get healthy.”
The Forever Young Zone will include computers, stateof-the-art audio and video equipment, and games where hospitalized children can interact with one another and exercise their imaginations.
Currently, Banner Desert includes a 128-bed “children’s hospital within an adult hospital,” said Elizabeth Reich, vice president of development for Banner Health Foundation at Banner Desert.
The new children’s hospital will open in late 2008.
For the past five years, Banner Health has been recruiting specialists in anticipation of the development of a full-service pediatric facility, said Peter Fine, president and CEO of Banner Health.