This year, 32 Tri-State Walmart stores are joining together to help Cincinnati Children's battle a rare, devastating disease: Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).
As a partner of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Walmart is helping sick kids here in Cincinnati and around the world. Cincinnati-area stores collected donations at cash registers and from employees and friends to support the Epidermolysis Bullosa Center at Cincinnati Children's.
EB is an incurable genetic disease characterized by fragile skin, serious medical complications and often tremendous pain. Many children who suffer from the disease need to keep most of their bodies' surface-area bandaged, an agonizing and costly process.
Cincinnati Children's is home to the largest treatment center for EB in North America. Patients from across the country and around the world come here for diagnosis and treatment of EB. Serving at least 200 patients a year with the condition, support from Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and Walmart can truly help the Center improve treatments for their patients.
Walmart stores in Cincinnati typically raise $250,000 - $300,000 dollars for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals each year. As a donor for more than 25 years, they are committed to raising money to improve children's health. In 2012, Walmart stores across the nation raised more than $40 million dollars to support children's hospitals.
Drs. Anne Lucky and Richard Azizkhan, the Medical and Surgical Directors of the EB Center, are overwhelmed by the commitment. Spending more than 30 years caring for EB patients and trying to gain support for such a rare disease is difficult: they believe this to be a particularly special donation.
"Money from the network will be extremely valuable in helping to expand research into treatment and cure for EB and will benefit awareness and educational efforts," Dr. Lucky says. "We plan to use the money to train providers to know more about EB and to engage appropriate researchers in projects to understand how the genetic basis of EB influences its complications. Ultimately, we hope to improve the quality of life of those children who are afflicted."
Dr. Lucky explains that the EB Center gets a limited number of gifts each year. And this one from Walmart is special. "This is a generous gift for a severe condition that few people have ever heard about. We are so appreciative."