July 30, 2004

‘Castles’ donated to Children’s Hospital

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Monroe Carell Jr., center, helps patients and donor, August Gallo of New Orleans, unwrap one of four “Sabriya’s Castles of Fun” units last week at the hospital. Photo by Daniel Dubois

‘Castles’ donated to Children’s Hospital

Four large presents arrived at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, July 21 to delight and entertain young patients.

Patients unwrapped four “Sabriya’s Castle of Fun” units: multicolored, castle-shaped audio-visual entertainment centers. Each is equipped with a remote controlled 20-inch color monitor, VCR, 6-changer Sega Game Center, CD and DVD player and AM/FM radio.

“I have seen how important these castles can be to the young people being treated at our hospital,” said Carell. “If you’re getting chemotherapy for seven or eight hours, having a video game to play or a movie to watch is important. I think the castles are a nice addition to what we already have here.”

The gift to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital came as a result of the business relationship between Ronnie Burns of Burns Management Group in New Orleans, and Monroe Carell Jr. the namesake, major donor and fund-raising chair for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

“We have been in business together for 12 years now, working on airport parking projects,” said Burns. “When the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt was complete, we came to the opening, and I promised Monroe I’d find the five sponsors for the castles through his business associates in New Orleans.”

Burns found the following sponsors: Louellen and Darryl Berger (in the name of their children: Allison, Darryl, Brandon and Ryan Berger who all went to Vanderbilt); Joseph C. and Sue Ellen Canizaro (for the Donum Dei Foundation); George Solomon Jr. (in the name of the Solomon family); August Gallo (in the name of the Gallo family), and Ronnie and Sheila Burns, who sponsored a fifth castle which will be installed at VCH at a later date.

"My good friend Danny Bakewell, a childhood friend, lost his 17-year-old daughter, Sabriya, in a 77-day battle with leukemia. During that experience the family realized how important entertainment was to kids confined to hospital rooms,” Burns said. “After she died in 1992, Danny began making castles in her memory."

Bakewell is now a business associate of both Carell and Burns and constructs the castles at his place of business, and the foundation looks for donors to give the systems to children’s hospitals.

“It’s a wonderful thing for these five sponsors to bring these castles to our children’s hospital,” said Carell. “It has long-term value for these children, and I’m glad these donors are willing to do this.”