For many of us, becoming a Dream Builder starts with a personal connection to our hospital. For Steve and Kay Aidlin, hospital environments have led to quite a lot in their lives. You see, the hospital is where they met. Of course, as a recovery room nurse at Sarasota Memorial, Kay was the only one conscious! "Steve came in as a patient and I was his recovery nurse," she explains. Steve had recently moved his business, Aidlin Automation Corporation, to Sarasota from New York. "Yeah, she liked me because I wasn't awake," Steve adds with a wink.
While that may or may not be an exaggeration, the bottom line is, they not only formed an alliance as a couple they both became avid supporters of All Children's Hospital by way of Sarasota Memorial, where All Children's specialty physicians collaborate to provide care in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In reality, the recovery room of a hospital isn't just where she first met Steve, it was where Kay initially saw the need for the children she helped daily to have access to a separate specialized facility that focuses on treating kids. She knew when she stopped practicing, she wanted to get involved with All Children's. That led to the All Children's Hospital Guild, Sarasota/Manatee Branch where Kay has now spent five years as president. Among other projects, the Sarasota/ Manatee Branch has helped fund a project close to Kay's heart: a new Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Clinic at Sarasota Memorial run by All Children's specialty physicians to address an increase in local infants born with NAS. And it was during her tenure as president that Kay met Dr. Michael Gallant who was then working with children with cleft palates. The couple even attended a Community Rounds event (which is now our Live the Mission program) with Dr. Gallant. And Steve, well, "Kay is the reason I'm involved too," he says smiling at his wife. The process has been an evolution from volunteering their time, to participating in events, to donating to the hospital as Dream Builders.
As part of the Community Rounds program, Steve toured the former All Children's Hospital building. He asked to visit the Emergency Room. "I felt that the Emergency Room is one of the critical areas where time is of the essence," Steve explains. "My background in production and operations management led me immediately to the opinion that the ER exhibited superior adherence to Excellence of Practice: Protocols were in writing at each station. Equipment was readily available and color-coded to suit the size of the child needing treatment. Later, after the new hospital building was completed, I was advised that it came in on time and on budget. That is no small feat. As a businessman and an investor, I continue to be impressed with ACH's commitment to excellence in performance of care and its use of funds."
That creed of excellence prepared the Aidlins for their next step: including All Children's Hospital Foundation in their will.
"As we got more involved with the hospital and learned its long-range plans," Steve says, "we also became vitally committed to supporting the far-reaching programs of the hospital through our financial legacy. We have seen to it that our children and grandchildren are cared for in their future lives, but we also want to support other children that will need ACH/JHM medical care in the future. Look, we don't need to see our name on a building," he adds emphatically.
" But as we learned more," Kay finishes for him, "we were inspired to think about the legacy that we want to leave behind." (Yes, they do complete each other's sentences.) "The bottom line is, this hospital is doing things in medicine that save lives," Steve adds. "They make lives better. We want to help reach those goals." "Children are the future," they finish in unison. What began in the recovery room finishes big with a Dream Builders' legacy.