It's the place I worked for over thirty years. The images ran through my mind as I watched Sonny Glasbrenner tear out the walls of the old Emergency Center.
So many memories.
There's a brand new All Children's Hospital down the street. It stands proud and majestic ... overlooking the medical complex that surrounds it.
But it's not this building.
This building has heart and soul. Always did. Just ask the hundreds of thousands who passed through the doors. I still see the faces of the children, the families, the staff ... the courage, the tears ... and the miracles.
I remember Doug ... a cystic fibrosis patient who lived much longer than he was supposed to. CF is one of those terminal diseases in children that destroys the lungs. Most might live into their teens but Doug beat the odds ... living into his twenties. He was determined to get his way ... his way was to go to school, get a job, date lots of women, and spit in the face of death. He did it all. He even wrote and videotaped his own memorial service with specific instructions about who was invited and who wasn't. I was among the lucky ones ... I got to help organize it, speak about Doug's exploits (there were MANY) and watch the video he shot.
The last scene showed Doug pulling down his pants and mooning the camera ... saying to his sister, "Hey Sis ... I knew you'd like this ... This one's for you!"
Tommy was a terror on the floors. He would spend nights making crank calls to nurses, scooting down the halls in a toy car dragging a portable IV, in general ... being a kid. Tommy was always a special guest on the telethon, but we held our breath whenever he was interviewed. His language was pretty colorful. He was loved by all. He is now a talented artist and speaks beautifully.
Christie was a cancer survivor.
She starred in a production that was filmed and shown on NBC's Main Street show. Christie missed a couple of years in school when she was battling and beating the odds all the while taking incredibly high doses of chemotherapy. It never stopped her. She went extra years to college, refusing to give in ... graduated and worked at the hospital. She's now happily married and has her own beautiful children.
I stood there and watched the demolition. The walls came down ... the dust came up ... there was no crowd ... just me. But I realized at that moment ... I'm so very lucky. I lived there. I was one of the privileged few to be invited to be part of a very special family.
I'll always have that ... even when the walls are all gone.