LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It was a big day for Lee Memorial: In a ceremony called "Let's Move that Dirt," a superhero broke ground on the new children's hospital. Today's celebration is also the children's hospital's 20 year anniversary.
It was a mission only a superhero could accomplish. The heavy task of turning dirt was in the hands of Evan.
"It feels awesome," Evan told WINK News. Just 4 years old, Evan is now part of building a Southwest Florida legacy on the HealthPark campus.
Evan sat in the drivers seat of a tractor, and broke ground at the site of the future Golisano Children's Hospital.
"It was amazing. It was nice to come here to have a little play time. He usually comes to get assessed," said his mother.
But tied to the cape, is a story of a survivor. Last Christmas, Evan was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Evan fought the battle, just as any super hero would, taking down the bad guys and winning!
"He has his tumor removed last month, so he is technically cancer free. We are excited!"
The children's hospital was once known as the little hospital that could, and now, it's being recognized as the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida!
"When children have medical challenges and need hospitalization. They are often in the hospital, out of the hospital, in the hospital, out of the hospital," said Jim Nathan, President of Lee Memorial Health System.
By building here, families won't have to travel the many miles to Tampa or Miami.
"Our challenge for years, being so far from Miami and Tampa, is how to we keep children and families as close to home as possible," said Nathan.
It will be a modern facility with 160 pediatric beds and private suites, so families will no longer have to be separated.
The children's hospital is expected to open in 2017, so far they have raised $82 million of the $100 million dollar goal.
WINK News is also learning the hospital has teamed up with neurosurgeons from Miami Children's Hospital. Local kids that have head trauma will be able to talk to doctors in Miami over the internet. So far, it's been successful, half of children with head trauma, have been able to stay in Southwest Florida.