Banner Children's Hospital was renamed Wednesday in honor of a well-known Mesa family's $10 million donation.
The west Mesa hospital, on the Banner Desert Medical Center campus, is now Cardon Children's Medical Center. A renaming dedication Wednesday included Banner Health CEO Peter Fine, numerous hospital personnel, multiple generations of the Cardon family, and family friend/supermodel Cindy Crawford.
The 146-bed hospital is now located inside Banner Desert, but will move on Nov. 2 to a seven-story pediatric patient tower as part of a $356 million campus expansion. Upon completion, Cardon Children's hospital will include 248 beds.
The Cardon family gift, officially given by Wilford Allen and Phyllis Reneer Cardon, is the largest ever donation to nonprofit Banner Health.
Wilford Cardon is a longtime board member of Banner Health, while his son, Wil Cardon Jr., serves as chairman of the pediatric fundraising campaign of the Banner Health Foundation, which has raised more than $25 million.
Wilford Cardon said he knows what it's like for children to be hospitalized because he contracted polio at age 6, and spent a year in a hospital bed with his legs and back paralyzed.
There is no more important cause than the health and care of children, he said. Children deserve kind and considerate care, he said.
"Kids are kids, they're scared and they don't know what's happening to their body," Cardon said.
Cardon Children's hospital is a "community asset," said Todd Werner, the hospital's CEO.
"When families need comprehensive care for their children, they have an outstanding place to turn to in our medical center," he said.
Rhonda Anderson, pediatric administrator, said children were consulted when the patient tower was designed because "we want them to feel as though this is their home." It will include private rooms, private space for family and a schoolroom for children who can get out of bed, she said.
"Each of our floors is age specific and every room is a house," she said.
Crawford said her younger brother died at age 4 of leukemia, and she still wonders what her life would have been like if her brother had beaten the disease and been able to go home. The new tower will provide more beds to care for sick children, and, most important, talent and technology to continually improve pediatric care, she said.
"We're here to celebrate more children being able to go home," she said